Manila deploys sweeper system to kick out empties

Manila: Sounding like a bunch of Lothar Matthäuses are set to descend on the Philippine capital, the Philippine Ports Authority has said international shipping lines will deploy dedicated ‘sweepers’ to get their empty containers out of congested terminals in Manila.  

Sweepers are not free roving defensive football players such as Germany’s Matthäus from the 1990s, but dedicated vessels sent by international carriers for a specific purpose, in this case, to load and move out empty containers at the ports of Manila to a specific destination.

Once the carriers clear out their containers at terminals in Manila, yard utilisation is expected to drastically go down to 80% from the current figure of 96%, PPA said. In May, that number stood at 110%.

“This will be a very big boost to our mitigating measures in further decongesting the Manila ports,” PPA general manager Juan Ana said in a statement.

“It is considered as a very huge step towards realizing our timeline to free up as much space as possible inside the ports prior to the expected surge in volume due to the run-up to Christmas,” he added.

Last week, the carriers led by the Association of International Shipping Lines (AISL), had its first sweep through clearing approximately 20% of the estimated 17,000 to 22,000 empties cluttering up terminals in Manila.

Three more sweeper calls are expected by the middle of next month.

“Measures are slowly being put into place and before we know it, we will be back to normal. I am encouraging all concerned to give extra more effort and patience as the positive effects of the measures take time before they trickle down to the end user,” the PPA boss said.

Manila’s congested terminals have been the focus of much resentment of late.  [30/07/14]

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