AS Mindanao’s economy flourishes, the demand for its capacity to receive and send out commodities has increased as well.
This prompted Mindanao shippers and cargo service providers to form a wish list in their continued pursuit for growth.
On behalf of the private sectors, Augustus Adis, President of PIE-MO Industries Association, disclosed the wish list during the Mindanao Shipping Conference held last week here.
“The major growth drivers of Northern Mindanao are our ports, namely, the base port at Macabalan, in this city, and the Mindanao Container Terminal (MCT) at Phividec in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental,” Adis said. “Our port’s consumption and distribution will determine our success.”
The wish list consists of eleven requests from the private sector on the improvement of our ports and facilities concerning it.
First, the cargo handling capacity of Mindanao has been pressured because of the expanding economy. Access to these ports has become a difficulty. The list indicates that road widening and construction of these access roads should be given attention.
Also, the completion of the Carmen Hill, Upper Puerto bypass road from Alae to the MCT will provide safe transport and access of cargoes to and from Central Mindanao.
To reap maximum economic benefits, the wish list suggests eliminating additional handling cost and to implement cargo inspection within the ports.
In 2013, MCT port handled 224,539 TEUs which amounted almost to the port’s capacity or 83 percent of its annual capacity.
Expansion of the port is seen to prevent congestion and allowing the port to accommodate bigger vessels which can be more cost – effective.
Another cause of congestion in the container yard is the overstaying of abandoned cargoes.
Implementing a policy on disposing abandoned cargoes within a limited period of time through auction will benefit the government through added revenue.
Decongestion and better utilization of unused containers is also a plus.
Referring to the port’s performance in the past years, MCT should be recognized as a principal port of entry as opposed to its sub port classification.
The port has served the region well and contributed a huge part in the growth of the country’s economy.
The shipping industry has voiced supported in government’s effort to improve import regulations.
The load port survey (LPS) is a significant move to determine cargo value and for proper collection of duties and taxes.
In order to support commerce, the LPS cost should be borne by the government. This is according to the previously promulgated 1987–2001 pre-shipment inspection scheme.
The private sector also wants that cargoes from accredited and established industries with priority clearance under the Super Green Lane (SPL) program should not be subjected to inspection anymore unless necessary.
It is also the desire of the private sector for the rationalization of documents which need to be submitted for accreditation as implemented by the Bureau of Customs.
Considering that the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Bureau of Customs (BOC) are under the Department of Finance, data sharing between the agencies should be facilitated. This is to lessen the burden of complying with the same requirements for data submission.
To maximize air and sea access, the private sectors also want the immediate expansion of Laguindingan Airport’s cargo terminal and allied facilities.
Lastly, the wish list suggests the lifting or easing of the cabotage by allowing local shipping access of non-domestic flagged vessels.
According to Adis, the high incidence of shipping accidents should become a reminder for greater efforts.
It should raise awareness as to the need to make maritime safety a top priority in the country especially in Mindanao, he added.