Government agencies issued a joint administrative order to decongest Manila ports amid the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon.
The JAO 20-01 titled “Adoption of Processes for the Expedited Release of Refrigerated Containers and Dry Vans during the period of Enhanced Community Quarantine” aims to address cargo congestion at the Manila ports.
The JAO was issued and signed by the Department of Finance, Department of Agriculture and Department of Trade and Industry in cooperation with the Bureau of Customs and the Philippine Ports Authority.
Under the JAO, importers/consignees were directed to immediately withdraw reefer containers or face abandonment proceedings.
All refrigerated containers should be pulled out of the terminal within seven days, except for chilled cargoes which are given five days.
“Appropriate penalties shall be imposed by the Philippine Ports Authority to ensure that consignees/importers withdraw the cargo within the window provided under this JAO., provided however that reefers that are unclaimed after three days from the set deadline shall be declared abandoned,” the JAO said.
“Cargoes beyond 30 days from date of discharge are required to be withdrawn within five days from issuance of this JAO. Otherwise, they shall be considered abandoned subject to immediate disposition in a manner to be determined by the Secretary of Finance,” it said.
The JAO will take effect immediately upon publication in a newspaper of general circulation.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade earlier appealed to cargo owners and consignees to withdraw overstaying cargoes and help free needed space inside the Manila International Container Terminal.
Tugade aired the appeal after the PPA warned of a possible shutdown of the Port of Manila if cargo owners and consignees continued to ignore calls to withdraw cleared, ready for delivery and overstaying cargoes.
The PPA said yard utilization at the Manila international ports—composed of the Manila International Container Terminal and the Manila South Harbor—were almost 100-percent full.