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Cargo release in Philippines delays blamed on storage issues

CUSTOMS Commissioner Nicanor E. Faeldon will meet with port stakeholders on the matter of storage space for shipments, which he identified as one of the issues causing delays in trade facilitation.
“Only 6% of the importation process is under the control of Customs, and the rest are controlled by other regulatory offices,” said Mr. Faeldon in a statement e-mailed to journalists this weekend.

He cited the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Asian Terminals, Inc., and International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) as other entities that have jurisdiction over port operations, cargo handling and tracking, and port development.

He added that ICTSI and ATI can be the source of delays in commodities shipments because they have limited working space to accommodate cargo.

In a disclosure by ICTSI, the port operator cited “unfavorable container volume mix and lower non-containerized and storage revenues at certain terminals,” as among the risks to its revenue, which surged by more than half during the first three months of the new government.

Because ICTSI and ATI are private corporations, the PPA and not the Bureau of Customs has jurisdiction in overseeing their operations.

The limited storage space, along with the limited working space for inspections of the Bureau, are among the reasons for the lag in cargo releases.

The Customs Commissioner said that he will continue the pursuit of the National Single Window system, currently held up in the Supreme Court, and the removal of demurrage and other penalties for delay of loading and unloading shipments, both which were pursued by the Bureau during the previous government.
Source: Business World