Port congestion

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Sunday, February 16, 2014


LOCAL government leaders in Cebu seem to be oblivious to the worsening congestion of container vans at the Cebu International Port (CIP) leaving this problem to port stakeholders to thresh out. The politicians are busy with petty politics that they don’t realize the impact of the tall piles of container vans at the port area on Cebu’s economy.

After months of congestion, port stakeholders are worried that some Cebu exporters are beginning to find it cheaper and faster to bring their shipments first to Manila for loading in international vessels there. International ships are likewise bypassing the Cebu port because there is no longer space for their cargo.

In fairness to the politicians who are expected to be more attuned to petty politics than with political-economy, the bureaucrats at the port area seemed to be just sitting on the problem. It took Opascor, a stakeholder from the private sector composed of port arrastre workers, to initiate the move to hold a port summit on Feb. 20.

Perhaps, there is already some improvement in the speed of processing of customs documents that was discussed when Customs Commissioner John Sevilla met port
stakeholders at the Mariners’ Court.

From what I gathered during that gathering, the customs police under the previous district commander seemed to have a penchant for looking into shipments already classified as green lane. The effort delayed the processing of cargo for several days contributing to the congestion. The customs brass already promoted the district commander to Davao.

But we should also consider the sheer growth of traffic at the CIP that the need for bigger space should be a priority.

***

Our Regional Trial Court (RTC) judges really need a temporary home while those who can decide are taking their sweet time deciding on what to do with the damaged Palace of Justice. However, the bright boys who thought of transferring the courts to the port area should rethink the plan.

Transferring the courts to the port area will complicate the problems at the CIP. The rerouting of PUJs and the need for silence will mean restrictions on the hundreds of big trucks hauling big container vans around the port complex. And will the judges restrict the ships from blowing their loud horns when the courts are in session? Kuyaw mangabangga hinoon diha sa pantalan.

***

Cordova Mayor Adelino Sitoy’s claim of P126 million from both 2GO Travel and Sulpicio Lines seems to give the town an image of having failed to recover several months after the oil spill last August. But having visited Cordova recently, I saw the town’s bustling economy. It has visibly recovered. “Dugay na nibalik ang bakasi, dong,” a vendor said.

***

When I was researching for a blog article last December, I remember reading several news articles talking about the huge budget being prepared for the rebuilding of the Yolanda-devastated areas. During those weeks, I recalled talking with some anti-pork advocates concerned about the huge lump sums allocated for the rehabilitation program.

However, reading news stories about the need for shelter now tells me something is wrong. Were those stories about the allocations mere atik? Or have the funds found their way to deep pockets?

(politika2013.wordpress.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 17, 2014.

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