President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz answered questions from the members of the media during the joint press conference at the Chancellery as part of President Marcos' working visit to Germany on March 12, 2024.

Marcos wants 24/7 port operations

June 4, 2024

MANILA, Philippines —  President Marcos has ordered a round-the-clock deployment of customs and agriculture department teams to ports to ensure uninterrupted processing of shipments, including the screening of imported goods such as food and agricultural products.

At a meeting with the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC)-Infrastructure Sector Group last Wednesday, Marcos said the operations of all ports and the processing of shipments should be continuous to accommodate the arrival of more ships.

“In this business, there’s no after hours… It’s ready 24/7. So, let’s not put an extra team, let’s just keep it running. Whatever you have there in the day, let the same number of people that you have all 24 hours,” Marcos told government officials and PSAC members during the meeting held at Malacañang. He noted that the setup would require three eight-hour shifts of personnel.

“Let’s keep it running, whatever you have in the day, that is the same amount, same number of people at night. This is not a skeleton crew but a full complement of personnel who will take care of any kind of business that is there,” the President was quoted by a PSAC statement as saying.

Marcos made the remark following the PSAC’s recommendation to let the customs and agriculture department produce a shifting schedule to ensure 24/7 operations across all government services related to logistics and supply chains.

According to PSAC, the process would ensure continuous inspection, clearance and payment process, significantly cutting costs and time, particularly on the x-ray scanning operations of government offices that inspect reefer vans.

“The President’s directives mark a significant step towards modernizing our infrastructure and logistics sectors. By ensuring 24/7 port operations and integrating water-related projects, we are poised to see substantial improvements in efficiency and economic growth,” PSAC lead convenor and Aboitiz Group chief executive officer and president Sabin Aboitiz said in a statement.

“The commitment to resolving road blockages and developing a comprehensive supply chain roadmap will further streamline our processes and reduce costs,” he added.

PSAC said Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos had also committed to assign a point person to work with port operators and local governments to resolve road blockages leading to major ports nationwide, a move seen to address congestion and ensure smooth transport operations.

At the same meeting, Marcos ordered the Department of Public Works and Highways to combine its flood control program with other water-related projects, including irrigation, water supply and power generation.

He called for a cohesive strategy involving the energy and agriculture departments and the National Irrigation Administration.

Also discussed during the meeting were issues related to infrastructure and logistics.

In a statement, the Presidential Communications Office said Marcos expressed support for the old process of addressing right-of way issues to fast-track the completion of major infrastructure projects.

The old process involved securing the writ of possession after making a 15 percent initial payment for the property affected by the right-of-way process.

“That’s very, very timely because we had a briefing on the flagship projects and the delays – there is a huge delay in the right-of-way,” Marcos said.