OFFICIALS of the Cebu Port Authority (CPA), Bureau of Customs (BOC) and Oriental Port and Allied Services Corp. (Opascor) signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) yesterday for the use of a private stockyard near Sugbutel as an extension of the Cebu International Port (CIP).
The agreement will allow the transfer of seized container vans to the rented private lot to help decongest CIP from so many cargoes which has been the subject of complaint by businessmen who suffered losses.
The MOA was signed by CPA General Manager Edmund Tan, BOC Port of Cebu District Collector Arnulfo Marcos and Opascor vice chairman Dennis Mendoza.
The signing was witnessed by Customs Commissioner Alberto Lina, Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) Undersecretary Jualinito Bucayan, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) president Ma. Teresa Chan, Philippine Exporters Confederation-Cebu executive director Fred Escalona and Philippine International Sea Freight Forwarders Association (PISFA) president Carmel de Pio Salvador.
The others who were also present were CPA Commissioners Tomas A. Riveral, Benjamin Akol, Marino Fernan, Teotimo A. Ballesteros Jr. and lawyer Joselito Pedaria.
Tan said the extension of the CIP will pave the way for a smoother handling of cargo at the port.
Under the law, imported cargoes must be placed at the CIP and should not be transferred to any place if not cleared for released by the BOC. However, the MOA, which was approved by the Cebu Port Commission, the policy-making body of the CPA, declared the private lot as an extension of the CIP.
At present, Tan said there are about 750 seized container vans stored at the CIP and awaiting seizure and forfeiture proceedings, which usually takes a long time.
Chan said the business community, especially the importers, exporters, customs brokers and other stakeholders, are happy about the signing of the MOA because it will lead to CIP decongestion.
Records show that CIP can only accommodate 7,707 20-footer container vans.
But because seized container vans and abandoned cargoes are stored at the CIP for a long time due to procedures under the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, it congested the CIP, affecting the smooth flow of import and export products.
Escalona said that CIP congestion has caused losses in revenue, as delays in deliveries have affected business operations.
Escalona said that with the CIP extension, the CIP will be decongested and the flow of cargoes can return to normal.