AsiaPorts and Logistics

Congestion at Manila port reaches record levels

Manila port not for the first time is facing extraordinary congestion with container yard space now effectively full and ships being asked to divert to alternative destinations within the Southeast Asian archipelago.

The port, which has a long history of congestion thanks to heavy road traffic across the sprawling Philippine capital, has been hit hard in the past month by the coronavirus with the lockdown preventing businesses from retrieving their containers.

Many ships are now queued up waiting for a berth in Manila.

Draft rules expected to be issued this week will see all cargo that has been discharged from vessels for more than a month declared abandoned if not withdrawn in five days. Cargo discharged for less than a month will be given 10 days.

The congestion is also having a noticeable impact on the reefer trades. German carrier Hapag-Lloyd issued a note to clients yesterday on the lack of available reefer plugs at Manila port. Hapag-Lloyd suggested clients shift cargoes to Subic Bay or Batangas, two ports on the same island of Luzon as Manila.

Elsewhere in the Philippines, mining operations in the country’s southern province of Surigao del Norte, home to most of the country’s nickel mines, have been suspended from today.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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