Philippines Sells Abandoned Containers to Make Way for Deliveries of Essentials

FILE PHOTO: Containers are seen inside the Manila South Harbor, metro Manila February 15, 2016. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

By Ditas Lopez

The Philippines made good on its threat to negligent importers that it will sell overstaying containers to make way for new deliveries of essential items like food and medicine amid the pandemic.

The Bureau of Customs earned 375 million pesos ($7.4 million) from the sale of 656 seized or abandoned containers, it said in a statement on Tuesday. The remainder of the more than 1,300 overstaying containers since January were either donated or condemned, the agency said.

The government has been asking cargo owners to pull out their containers to decongest Manila’s ports, which had utilization of over 90% as of April. A quarantine that started mid-March to slow the spread of coronavirus has suspended public transport and shut businesses, making it difficult for importers to pay shipping fees and keep warehouses operating.

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P.