Articles

ICTSI’s Laguna dry port gets accreditation as off-dock customs facility

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Bureau of Customs (BOC) has certified the Laguna Gateway Inland Container Terminal, Inc. (LGICT), the dry port container handling facility of International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) in Calamba City, Laguna, as an authorized Off-Dock Customs Facility (OCF).

The OCF certification enables LGICT to offer faster and seamless services to businesses and industries in Southern Luzon, specifically locators in economic zones using ICTSI’s flagship Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) as their trading gateway.

“The OCF status allows us to have the Bureau of Customs hold their functions and activities inside the LGICT dry port. As an OCF, LGICT officially becomes an extension of the seaport, and, in our case, an extension of the MICT. With this, we will be able to serve the requirements of importers, exporters, forwarders, third party logistics providers, or locators in the economic zones in the region,” says Carmela Rodriguez, LGICT general manager.

“We thank the BOC and Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon for the certification. We are excited to fully open our gates to our customers in April,” adds Ms. Rodriguez.

LGICT has ongoing activities that will make the dry port a fully compliant OCF, including the installation of a one-stop-shop housing BOC and Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) offices, and in the near future the revival of the multimodal service via rail.

LGICT has allocated five hectares of yard space as Customs area, which can accommodate 5,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) at any one time.

With these projects in the pipeline, LGICT clients would benefit from the efficient cargo movement between points (discharging / loading ports and the last mile between LGICT and the manufacturers and vice versa), cost rationalization, and the development plans of LGICT itself, which could bring in new businesses for clients and industry stakeholders.

The LGICT is a 250,000 TEU annual capacity dry port / inland container depot strategically located at Barangay San Cristobal, Calamba City, Laguna near the economic zones in Laguna, Batangas, Quezon and the eastern front of Cavite. The facility will be able to serve and support trade movement of economic zones within a 30-kilometer radius.

With a terminal area of 21 hectares, 10 hectares of which are allotted to the container yard, the dry port is designed as a conduit that enhances the logistics supply chain activities of direct cargo owners and logistics service providers, and other support services for the benefit of end-users.

Currently, it offers laden container storage, empty depot, reefer container plugs, dedicated loading and stripping area, and select areas for subleasing. LGICT is equipped with container weighbridge and state-of-the-art container-handling equipment, which on full build, will include rubber tired gantries.

In 2015, International Container Terminal Services, Inc., through subsidiary IW Cargo Handlers Inc., forged a joint venture with Nippon Container Terminals Co. Ltd., and Transnational Diversified Corp. for the establishment of the Laguna Gateway Inland Container Terminal. A 21-hectare dry port, the LGICT in Calamba City, Laguna is a pivotal component of ICTSI’s efforts to boost its domestic capability, particularly southern Luzon. The Laguna dry port is part of ICTSI’s short-to medium-term plan to expand its flagship, Manila International Container Terminal.

Source: http://business.mb.com.ph/2017/03/20/ictsi-laguna-dry-port-gets-off-dock-customs-facility-status/
 

PH stakeholders press for implementing rules on IMO verified gross mass policy

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Calls are mounting for the release of Philippine government guidelines concerning the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) policy on verified gross mass (VGM), with effectivity of the regulation less than four months away.

There was much confusion at a recent forum discussing IMO’s Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) VGM policy as it became apparent there were no government regulations specifically formulated to comply with the measure. The forum on the SOLAS VGM policy was organized by the Philippine International Seafreight Forwarders Association, Inc. (PISFA) and PortCalls on March 11 at the Diamond Hotel.

On July 1 this year, amendments to Chapter VI Part A Regulation 2 of the SOLAS Convention will take effect, requiring the shipper of a packed container to verify the VGM of a container and indicate this to the carrier or port operator before the box is loaded onto a vessel. Without the VGM, the container will not be allowed to load.

The SOLAS policy requires a competent government authority to interpret the regulation and issue guidelines to suit the local scenario. The Philippines has no such government authority yet; the Association of International Shipping Lines (AISL) is urging the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) to take the lead.

AISL general manager Atty. Maximino Cruz, during the forum’s Q&A, said guidelines are needed “as soon as possible” because without them, “we can foresee some possible port disruptions” once the VGM policy takes effect.

Questions “will be endless unless we have the guidelines in place,” Cruz noted, adding there are also “conflicting issues” stakeholders cannot just decide or solve among themselves.

Maria Cecilia Bejoc, Maersk-Filipinas, Inc.’s inland operations manager who was a forum speaker, noted there are issues that can only be answered by guidelines to be issued by the competent government authority.

These include the cutoff time for submitting the VGM; format to communicate the VGM; allowed method of submission; how to deal with non-compliance; and the allowable tolerance since weight of cargoes may be affected by natural factors such as humidity and handling.

Cruz said AISL is suggesting that PPA take the lead “because it handles 70% of all (Philippine) cargoes coming in and going out of the ports.” Other port authorities can follow suit after, he noted.

AISL previously met with PPA officials, and sent a letter to PPA officer-in-charge Raul Santos dated February 18, saying that “for the effective enforcement of the new IMO policy and to settle conflicts which may arise in the course of implementation, AISL believes that the Philippine Ports Authority should take the lead and act as the competent government authority in addressing and resolving the national issues.”

AISL acknowledged efforts of the PPA to release relevant orders and circulars on container weighing, but requested that “a new PPA order or circular be issued with specific reference to the SOLAS amendments on verified gross weight and taking into account the previous issuances of your office if still deemed applicable.”

Cruz noted that the AISL letter came with a list of frequently asked questions the PPA can use as reference in crafting the rules for SOLAS VGM implementation.

PPA Port Operations and Services Department manager Roberto Aquino during the forum said PPA has several existing memorandums on mandatory weighing of containers.

PPA Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 05-2006 focuses on the mandatory weighing of export loaded containers at the South Harbor and Manila International Container Terminal), while MC 23-2009 stipulates mandatory weighing of containers and roll on-roll off vehicles. Meantime, PPA Administrative Order No. 02-2012 lays down the guidelines in the operation of weighbridge facilities and services at PPA ports.

However, there are some rules specific to the VGM policy, according to Maersk’s Bejoc, such as the shipper’s responsibility to weigh the cargo and relay the information to the shipping line or terminal operator.

A shipper, as identified under SOLAS, is either the one named in the ocean bill of lading or sea way bill or in the equivalent multimodal transport document, or the one with whom (or in whose name or on whose behalf) a contract of carriage has been concluded with a shipping company.

Another VGM rule is that only two methods of weighing are permissible. The first method requires weighing the container after it has been packed, and the second requires weighing all the cargo and contents of the container, and adding those weights to the container’s tare weight as indicated on the door end of the container.

SOLAS also indicated three methods of submitting the VGM—via the shipping line, the terminal operator, or a certified weighing facility.

“It’s up to the government body who will interpret the law if they will allow all three,” Bejoc noted.

Impact on shipper’s cycles, costs

As part of the new policy, shippers will have to factor in VGM compliance to their shipping cycle, especially when dealing with multiple shipping lines that have different cutoff times, Bejoc explained.

If the government, for example, mandates only a few entities allowed to weigh cargoes, then shippers must also take note of this in order to allocate time in going to those facilities, she said.

The shipping line official advised shippers to “calculate (for) possible costs” attendant to the introduction of the VGM policy, especially if there are third-party facilities involved in the process, as well as to be prepared for penalties that could arise from implementation of local guidelines.

Bejoc observed some countries have yet to perfect local regulations on the IMO policy, too, but said she hopes the Philippines will be among the first to issue clear guidelines “to avoid major disruptions” come July 1.

The SOLAS amendment was adopted in November 2014 to improve the safety of people and assets not only at sea but also inland, as the absence of an accurate weight declaration has caused accidents.

An accurate weight provided in advance will allow shipping lines to prepare more reliable stowage plans, Bejoc noted.

AISL’s Cruz added that if the SOLAS VGM is strictly implemented, “the overweight issue (with imports) will be minimized,” since shippers will be submitting accurate weights of their shipments. – Roumina Pablo

Source: www.portcalls.com

 

ICTSI’s TABS Points System User Guide

Friday, February 26, 2016

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Manila Exempts TABS users from truck ban

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Metro Manila Council has approved the exemption of Terminal Appointment Booking System (TABS) users from truck ban hours in Metro Manila to decongest the Manila ports.

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IMO Policy On Verified Gross Weight

Friday, February 26, 2016

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SOLAS VGM-Industry FAQs

Friday, February 26, 2016

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WSC Guidelines for Implementing the SOLAS Cointeiner Weight Verification

Friday, February 26, 2016

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Carriers seek unified box weighing rule guidelines

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Association of International Shipping Lines (AISL) is requesting the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) to issue an order that collates all previous rulings on the weighing of containers, in the interest of enforcing the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) verified gross weight (VGW) policy.

On July 1 this year, amendments to Chapter VI Part A Regulation 2 of the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS Convention) will take effect, requiring the shipper of a packed container to verify and indicate to the carrier or port operator the VGW before a box is loaded onto a vessel.

Once the policy is implemented, a packed container will not be allowed onboard a vessel unless the carrier and the port or terminal operator have obtained its VGW in advance as the information will be used for the stowage plan of the vessel.

AISL, in a letter to PPA officer-in-charge Raul Santos dated February 18, said that “for the effective enforcement of the new IMO policy and to settle conflicts which may arise in the course of implementation, AISL believes that the Philippine Ports Authority should take the lead and act as the competent government authority in addressing and resolving the national issues.”

There is currently no competent government authority designated to issue rules specifically related to VGW under SOLAS.

AISL acknowledged the efforts of the PPA to release relevant orders and circulars on container weighing. However, the association requests that “a new PPA order or circular be issued with specific reference to the SOLAS amendments on verified gross weight and taking into account the previous issuances of your office if still deemed applicable.”

PPA Port Operations Services division manager Rey Del Moro, in a Philippine International Seafreight Forwarders, Inc.-PortCalls joint forum last year, said Philippine ports are ready to comply with the SOLAS weight requirement because the port authority has been enforcing similar memoranda even before the issuance of the SOLAS amendment.

Del Moro further said these memoranda—PPA Memorandum Circular No. 23-2009 and PPA Administrative Order No. 02-2012—are even more strict than the SOLAS policy.

AISL furnished PPA with documents highlighting industry issues and frequently asked questions about container weight that the port authority may want to focus on in preparing its guidelines.

The association noted stakeholders, including foreign chambers of commerce, “are eagerly awaiting the immediate issuance of guidelines by the concerned government authority.”

“The role of the PPA in addressing relevant issues within its jurisdictional competence is considered extremely necessary to clarify issues and set the procedural rule of conduct as may be required, and thus forestall possible operational disruptions come July 01, 2016,” AISL said.

Common questions from the cargo and shipping community regarding the SOLAS policy include those on a clear definition of the term “shipper”; an agreed format to communicate VGW; the deadline for providing information to the carrier and operator; the margin of error for the gross mass; the different standards that can be applied around the world since there is no single international approval standard for weighing equipment; the enforcement tolerance threshold to be applied by the government in determining compliance with the policy; and whether a third party will have to become a “verified weigher” to issue a valid weight ticket.

Earlier, AISL general manager Atty. Maximino Cruz said members had started preparations to comply with the SOLAS requirement. He noted the new policy was “a welcome safety safeguard.”

The policy, he added, “relieves the vessel of any liability if the gross weight of the packed container is found to be erroneous.” – Roumina Pablo

Source: www.portcalls.com

 

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