PPA issues guidelines for unhampered cargo movements amid the Luzon-wide quarantine

18 MARCH 2020, MANILA- Heeding the call for an unimpeded cargo movement  to and from the ports of Manila and the entire Luzon as well as the movement of the accompanying crew and personnel of the transiting cargoes, the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) issued a memo circular  suspending  the earlier  order  the agency has issued on entry and withdrawal of cargoes.

PPA issued Memorandum Circular No. 10-2020 just in time for the daily press conference being called by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases led by IATF spokesperson Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles. The issuance of the above circular suspended and recalled its earlier issued memorandum  requiring cargo owners and logistics service providers to  secure a Cargo Entry/Withdrawal Permit (CEWP)  from PPA or Port Terminal Operators.

PPA General Manager Jay Daniel R. Santiago said the new memorandum virtually allowed all cargo owners to withdraw or deposit cargoes normally as if there is no Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).

“The new guidelines will only require the presentation of any of the existing transport documents such as Bill of Lading, Waybills or any related documents to the concerned inspecting/validating officers  and which shall serve as their entry/exit documents,” Santiago explained.

“This will guarantee the unhampered movement of cargo in and out of the ports of Manila, thus, ensuring uninterrupted domestic supply chain despite the 30-day ECQ,” Santiago stressed.

“Nonetheless, PPA will make regular review of the memorandum in order to calibrate certain provision of the memorandum if the need arises,” Santiago added.

Under the memo, PPA-controlled ports shall remain open in  the entire duration of the ECQ being imposed in the entire Luzon region, provided that  there will be strict ‘no embarkation/disembarkation of crew’ and subject to the requirements of the Bureau of Quarantine and the Department of Health.

No passenger ships shall be allowed entry in ports, the memo also showed.

Trucks carrying cargoes not needing to traverse any body of water are allowed continuous access to ports as well as those carrying empty containers to and from the ports and to and from the Inland Container Yards.

For trucks carrying cargoes requiring transit via any body of water or interisland travel, these shall be required to unload the cargoes in the next port of call and transfer the same to another truck or vehicle, or as an alternative, engage a different driver and a maximum of two helpers provided by the trucking company, the shipper or the consignee until the trucks and cargoes reach its final destination. However, the manpower requirement of these trucks are subject to strict health screening before they will be allowed to enter or exit the port.

Meanwhile, other documents which will serve as entry/exit documents for inspection and verification by the authorities include Delivery Orders/Receipts, Container Interchange Report, including electronic systems like TABS, G2G, B2B, B2G and mobile messaging/receipts.

On the other hand, PPA is also maintaining a skeletal workforce in all its Luzon offices to complement the IATF directive to facilitate the release and entry of cargoes in any of the Manila ports.

PPA is similarly working with the IATF to have their skeletal force, including PPA official vehicles, accredited for their smooth transit to and from work.

The agency is likewise imposing a round-the-clock disinfection procedure in all its offices to prevent the spread of  COVID-19.

On Tuesday, the Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19 (IATF), also announced that all kinds of cargoes emanating from inside and outside of Metro Manila including those coming from provinces with localized community quarantine can move unimpeded.

To guarantee this, authorities will only conduct random checks relative to the ECQ guidelines and at the same time to ensure that there will be no contrabands being mixed along with regular cargoes.