Port congestion due to COVID-19 'abnormality,' trucker group says

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 02 2020 05:15 PM | Updated as of Apr 02 2020 08:05 PM

Container vans stacked together are seen inside the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) compound in Manila on April 1, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Truckers and cargo owners should not be blamed for the port congestion in Manila since the Luzon lockdown to fight COVID-19 caused an "abnormality" in the supply chain, a truckers group said Thursday.

The Philippine Ports Authority and private stakeholders earlier appealed to consignees, cargo owners and truckers to withdraw "overstaying cargoes" to decongest Manila ports.

"Sana mac-onsider naman nila na we are in a situation na may abnormality because of the COVID.Hindi rin kasalanan ng mga cargo owner, ng mga broker, na hindi kami maka-pullout because nga may slowdown ng lahat ng process," said Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines external vice president Mary Zapata.

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(I hope they can consider that we are in a situation with abnormality because of COVID. It's not our fault, the owners, brokers, that we cannot pullout since the processes have slowed down)

Truckers and agencies processing cargo shipments are all running in skeletal workforces due to the enhanced community quarantine imposed until April 12, she said. During the period, land, sea and air travel to and from Luzon are suspended. 

The Manila International Container Terminal is using 96 to 98 percent of its capacity, the PPA earlier said, adding that cargoes should be removed soon to prevent a possible shutdown.