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Gridlock in Manila is causing delays and additional charges

Jul 14, 2014
A daytime ban on trucks entering Manila, intended to reduce gridlock in the city, is causing serious disruption at the port and severely delaying container movements. According to Asian Tigers Philippines, the ban is growing into a serious problem for Philippine commerce and is continuing to affect both inbound and outbound traffic.

The company said that in addition to the delay and inconvenience caused there will be unavoidable expenses due to increased truck charges and container detention. Asian Tigers Philippines is working closely with the Joint Chambers of Commerce in Manila to do everything possible to address its concerns with the local government, but most analysts see repercussions of this ban lasting for several months.

Since the ban began in February, the delay through the port has increased from 6 to 10 days according to Christian Gonzales, the regional head of International Container Terminal Services Inc.  The port, that handles more than half of the nation’s freight, is only accessible by road.  The ban has been called a ‘drag on the Manila economy’  which, only last year, saw its debt rating raised to investment grade after decades of corruption, political upheaval and lackluster growth that led to it once being dubbed the ‘sick man of Asia’.

The disruption is despite the opening of express truck lanes on certain streets in Manila in an effort to help clear the backlog.  The Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines (CTAP) president Ruperto Bayocot said that although the express lanes are helping to ease the backlog it will take three to six months before the situation returns to normal.

Since the truck ban’s implementation, truck operators have increased their rates by at least 50%; some international shipping lines have skipped calls to Manila ports; the Bureau of Customs saw reduced collections to the tune of P100 million to P150 million a day; and the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) closed its empty container depot (ECD) at the beginning of June.

 

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