MANILA – Manila’s port, which is vital to the country’s trade and the delivery of much needed medical supplies amid the COVID-19 crisis, may shut down in 6 to 8 days because of congestion, the head of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) said on Tuesday.
The PPA said it is trying to accommodate as much cargo as it can within the facility, but only 40 percent of what they discharge actually moves out of the port’s gates.
Because of this, containers have been piling up in the port, and its terminals are “bursting at the seams,” PPA General Manager Jay Santiago said in an interview with ANC.
He estimated that if containers continue to pile up, the facility will be unable to process any more cargo within 6 to 8 days and halt operations because it has reached maximum capacity.
When this happens, the PPA may tell cargo ships to wait further until they can be accommodated or tell them to just move to their next port. If this happens, cargo that should be delivered to the Philippines will not get delivered, Santiago said.
“And that’s going to be our loss because some of those cargoes are the medicines medical equipment, the PPEs that we badly need and the foodstuffs that we really need,” Santiago said.
He pointed out that the problem was not due to delays in the processing of these shipments by the Customs Bureau but because many of the trucks meant to pick them up and deliver them to consignees have not been showing up since the start of the Luzon lockdown.
“If they don’t pull it out of the terminals, the boxes remain at the terminals.”