‘ELSA’ facilitates movement of empties at Manila South Harbor

31 MAY 2019, MANILA—Yard utilization at the Manila South Harbor was trimmed down to a better-than-ideal level with the implementation of the Empty Loadout Shipping Agreement (ELSA) at the port.

The initiative, put forward by South Harbor cargo handling operator Asian Terminals, Inc. (ATI), boosted the Manifesto of Support on empty and overstaying containers signed in mid-March as well as PPA Administrative Orders clearing the Manila ports of such boxes.

The ELSA process provides that every cargo discharge, vessels docked at the Manila South Harbor would load empty containers already available at the port regardless which shipping line owned such container. The participating shipping lines to the ELSA process include the CMA-CGM Group, T.S. Lines, Evergreen, Yang Ming Lines, Wan Hai and Hyundai Merchant Marine.

“We laud this initiative of ATI in their desire to free-up container yard space at the Manila South Harbor and facilitate the movement of laden boxes to and from the port,” PPA General Manager Jay Daniel R. Santiago said.

“Two weeks from the implementation of the Manifesto, the Manila South Harbor is already loading out at least 10,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) and relocated the same to other Asian destinations,” Santiago explained.

“But with ELSA, the container loadout at the port per week has reached 14,000 TEUs, the highest figure posted in the 60-day implementation span of the agreement,” Santiago added.

The manifesto of support, meanwhile, aims to prevent the imbalance of inbound and outbound containers borne by the unscrupulous practice of using the ports for prolonged storage of their containers until the withdrawal of goods will yield to maximum profit.

Prior to the Manifesto, the previous practice was that the shipping lines would only pullout its own containers resulting to higher inventory of empties inside the ports’ container yards.

“The consistent loadout of empty and overstaying containers from the ports the past two months have resulted in a yard utilization of about 54% as of end May compared to the 75% yard utilization when the Manifesto was signed in mid-March,” Santiago said.