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Philippines cracks down on overstaying cargoes

Philippines cracks down on overstaying cargoes
The Philippines is not only making pre-emptive moves to crack down on overstaying cargoes ahead of the busy season in the middle of the year but also adding to government coffers.

Local reports said the Bureau of Customs is taking action on shipments that have not been removed after more than 30 days from arrival and is looking to raise PHP1bn ($21.1m) from the sale of all such cargoes that it ordered removed from ports by the end of the first quarter.

“Customs directed all ports to review all overstaying cargoes for possible auction in line with efforts to boost revenues and decongest the port areas,” the bureau said in a statement.

In January, Customs commissioner Alberto Lina issued an order to remove unclaimed cargoes by 31 March to avoid a repeat of the port congestion that hit Manila in 2014 as a result of an expanded truck ban. The national government has since consistently monitored the flow of shipments in ports.

Based on Customs figures, overstaying cargoes at the Port of Manila are estimated to be worth PHP300m while at the Port of Subic estimated potential revenues amount to about PHP150m.

At the Philippines' biggest port Manila International Container Port (MICP), a total of PHP462.6m in overdue cargoes has been seized. However, only MICP has conducted the public sale exercise so far, while the other ports are still working out auction schedules.

Before the MICP auction, Philippines Customs had already collected PHP345.6m from auctions in six ports as at April this year.

“We are clearing as much as we could here. Of course, it cannot be 100% percent, but we almost cleared everything,” Lina was quoted as saying. “Hopefully, we are praying that we clear it until June,” he added.