Malacañang is poised to order the Manila city government to lift the truck due to its negative consequences on trade.
In a proposed executive order, Malacañang said cargo volume passing through the Port of Manila comprises around 49 percent of the country’s trade, and ensuring the free flow to and from ports are of foremost national importance and priority.
The past six months saw the drastic restriction in the movement of trucks transporting cargoes in and out of the Manila International Container Port (MICP), South Harbor and Manila North Harbor (MNH) in the Port of Manila due to the shortened operating hours of trucks as a result of the truck ban imposed by certain local government units, causing severe congestion and heavy volume of containers in the port area.
Malacañang said there is an urgent necessity to bring back normalcy in the Port of Manila by allowing movement of goods to and from the ports to decongest them and to bring their efficiency level to that prior to the restriction, to avert further damage to the country’s economy.
“The local traffic problem that the truck ban has sought to address has ceased to be a purely local government concern as the application of the proposed solution to the traffic problem has caused severe slowdown of trade and commerce passing through the Port of Manila,” draft EO said.
To resolve the issue, Malacañang said it would identify and designate portions of national roads and part of the local roads connected for trucks going to and from Manila ports to production and commerce centers in Metro Manila to allow commerce and trade to get back to normalcy.
In designated roads, the draft EO said “there shall be no restriction in operating hours for trucks passing through these trade lanes going to or from the Port of Manila to or from production and commerce centers in Metropolitan Manila” EO said.
“No fees or any form of charges are to be collected by concerned LGUs against the truckers, shippers, port operators or other entities for the use of the national and local roads herein designated as trade lane,” EO said .
The draft EO said the restriction has not only seriously disrupted the transport and movement of goods but has substantially brought negative economic consequences to the country, with the export and import industries among the hardest hit sectors due to severe shortage of imports for local consumption, inputs for production as well as export of products.
It added that “the bottleneck in roads to and from the ports caused by the truck ban has led some international shipping lines to reduce their ship calls in the Port of Manila and to shift their ports of call to neighboring ports in Asia due to the longer turn-around time of vessels, along with escalating demurrage and other operating costs making it very costly for these shipping lines to call in the Port of Manila.”
Malacañang said “port congestion resulting from the restriction on the operating windows for trucks has ripple effects on other businesses in the country, loss of productivity, and loss of jobs”; “the slowdown in economic activities induced by the truck ban has created a crisis in the economy and various trade organizations and business leaders have urged immediate effective government action to rectify the problem.”
Under the Manila government truck ban imposed starting last February, heavy trucks are allowed in Manila from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., including a two hour extension from the previous window period of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Empty container trucks, however, would not be allowed to take to Manila’s streets.
Truck operators comply with the policy but truck companies imposed a road congestion fees to its clients, an estimated increase of 50 percent of the TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) charges which is pegged at P ,000 (?) per TEU .
Written by: Myla Iglesias