The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has ordered all international shipping lines that unload cargoes in Philippine ports to allow consignees a minimum free period of at least eight days to help them cope with the impact of the lockdowns.
Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade explained that the new department order aims to “unburden consignees of essential goods from paying demurrage and detention charges that may accrue to substantial amounts due to delays in cargo pickup brought about by consequences related to Covid-19.”
“We are all affected by the pandemic and we understand that there maybe delays. But we should not make it as an excuse to take advantage of consignees. We have to help them provide critical, fast, and necessary services to protect our fellowmen that are affected by Covid-19,” he said.
Also under the order, international shipping lines are allowed to grant cargo free period beyond the minimum of eight days from discharge.
“Through this effort of extending the free time period of shipping lines for cargoes from the regular five days to eight days, shippers and importers will have more flexibility in processing their shipments without fear of additional costs especially during these times where operations of both government and private offices are limited,” Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) General Manager Jay Daniel R. Santiago said.
He added that apart from the flexibility and leeway provided by the order, his group hopes that the savings will be passed on to consumers.
“We just hope that whatever positive impact this cost saving initiative will have on shippers and importers will trickle down to end-users and consumers,” Santiago said.