The implementation of a city-wide modified truck ban in Manila last February has caused a lot of delays in the delivery of balikbayan boxes to loved ones in the Philippines due to backlogs in cargo shipments in the Port Area. The said ordinance prevents eight-wheeler trucks weighing 4.5 tons and up from plying the streets of Manila from 5 am to 9 pm, except Sundays and holidays.
DELAYS IN DELIVERY
LBC, one of the world’s biggest forwarders, said that everyone in the industry is affected by the modified truck ban. Internal inspection and the slow dispatching process are also causing bottlenecks in the Port Area. The company said that they are now having a hard time procuring cargos like balikbayan boxes straight from the terminal to customers.
Similarly, Netherlands-based Pinoy Balikbayan Box has been experiencing delays in cargo shipments to Manila for up to two weeks since February. The company said their partner forwarder is making efforts so that the truck ban won’t have such a huge impact on their operations.
LVM Cargo said it’s not just the truck ban but also the changes in custom regulations and the congestion in the Port Area that are affecting the delivery of balikbayan boxes to clients.
According to Wim de Ruiter, owner of LVM Cargo, congestion at the Manila port has caused huge container vessels from Europe to be rerouted to nearby countries like Malaysia, Singapore or Taiwan. From there, they unload the containers and transfer them to smaller vessels that will take them to the Manila port. The latter phase of the transport usually takes a few weeks.
BAND AID SOLUTION
Seeing the negative effects of the implemented truck ban in Manila, the national government has stepped in to help solve the problem. Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras held a meeting with local government officials in Manila, port authorities, truckers’ representatives and the business community to discuss the issue.
All parties agreed with having a 24-hour express lane for cargo truck along Roxas Boulevard. The express lane allows truckers to freely travel in and out of the Port Area to Manila, Pasay and Parañaque except Fridays.
The Metro Manila Council has issued a resolution allowing cargo trucks to pass through the inner lane of Roxas Boulevard effective until Dec. 10, 2014. Delivery trucks are now given a 24-hour express trade lane (ETL) along Roxas Boulevard.
The Metro Manila Development Authority has also lifted its own truck ban policy. Delivery trucks can now pass through designated routes throughout the day except Fridays, wherein trucks are not allowed to take the roads of Metro Manila from 6 to 9 am and 5 to 10 pm.
Manila City Vice-Mayor Isko Moreno said that trucks seen out of the ETL will be apprehended since their truck ban policy (no trucks along the streets of Manila between 10 am to 5 pm) is still in effect.
“As long as they are within their lane, they won’t be apprehended,” Moreno said.
The effects of this new policy will be reviewed after three months or by mid-September.
Forwarders advise their clients in Europe to ship their boxes earlier.
“For balikbayan boxes meant for Christmas, most especially to the Visayas and Mindanao, they must be shipped in the months of August and September to be able to deliver your gifts or pasalubong on time,” said de Ruiter.
Jane Nieberg of Pinoy Balikbayan Box said they ship parcels on a monthly basis which should guide customers on their delivery time.
“Truck ban or not, we always tell clients to send their boxes way ahead of their expected delivery dates. Normally, we advise them to send a month before the schedule they want their parcels to arrive,” she said.
Senders are also advised to follow the recommended weight allowance and submit the necessary documents to ensure easier transactions.