Port congestion crisis grows at Manila

Port congestion crisis grows at Manila

As Manila faces up to its worst port congestion crisis since the crippling box crunch of 2014, stakeholders including terminal operators and the Bureau of Customs have proposed to put up shared depots for empty containers outside the capital.

The concerned parties have asked the Philippine Economic Zone Authority to allot space for such depots, ideally situated near industrial zones. Other empty containers could be moved to other ports on Luzon, the island where Manila is located, including in Batangas and Subic Bay.

Customs officials are also looking to crack down on anyone leaving empty containers at the port for more than 90 days.

Last week Splash reported Asian Terminals Inc (ATI), one of two port operators at the port, had tapped six liners to help alleviate the crunch at Manila South Harbor. ATI has said it is working with CMA CGM, TS Lines, Evergreen, Yang Ming and HMM to take more than 10,000 empty containers from the port for recirculation to Asian destinations in the coming weeks.

Congestion at the country’s top port has been a regular problem. On January 23 this year, Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd announced it was stopping taking all reefer cargo to Manila, for both North and South Harbor.

“The decision is made due to terminal congestions at Manila port as well as limited trucking capacity,” Hapag-Lloyd stated in a notice to clients.

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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