By Business Mirror, February 1 2019

Image Credit to Business Mirror

THE government will issue a joint administrative order (JAO) that will overhaul rules on customs fees and charges in a move seen to reduce operating costs and improve logistics efficiency.

According to the Department of Trade and Industry, the JAO will be released in mid-February after subjecting it to public hearings. A joint memorandum circular between the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) will also be drafted to issue new rules intended to normalize the utilization rate of container depots in the Port of Manila back to 70 percent.

Under the JAO, the BOC will regulate and monitor all fees on empty container returns and charges of shipping lines.

Shipping lines will also be prohibited from imposing fees in the Philippines. All charges will instead be listed under their freight and other origin charges.

BOC Deputy Commissioner Edward James Dy Buco said that they plan to make charges of container depots on a par with other countries to prevent shipping lines from abandoning their empty containers in the yards.

For laden containers, the JAO will remove the provision requiring the submission of Equipment Interchange Receipt (EIR) as a basis for the implementation of the 90-day rule.

Instead, the discharge date will be used as the start date.

The group is also looking into using abandoned containers for low-cost housing, evacuation centers, and cold storage facilities for fish ports.

To reduce the number of containers entering the port and improve efficiencies, the JAO will also allow shipments to pass through Batangas and Subic Ports, closer to their destination or consignees. This will also help locators of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) find a more efficient option than the port of Manila.

After the issuance of the order, Secretary Lopez said that the DTI and concerned agencies will work on a roadmap for the logistics sector and provide a long-term plan to improve efficiencies and costs.

“Our ports, roads, and other infrastructure should be able to handle the added capacity brought about by our robust economic growth. Thus, we enjoin all concerned government agencies and stakeholders to share their insights to formulate a long-term solution.”