Manila International Container Port sets ‘closure’ to 1,200 legal cases

Container yard

THE Manila International Container Port (MICP) one of the country’s biggest and busiest ports, has embarked on a project to dispose of over 1,000 legal cases to further boost its revenue take and its container yard utilization.

Atty. Erastus ‘Dino’ Austria, district collector and Bureau of Customs (BoC) spokesperson, said an inventory of legal cases pending at the Law Division showed that 1,236 cases remain pending for decision with some cases dating back to 2012 or more than seven years ago.

“This (project) is part of the MICP’s effort to expedite the removal of overstaying containers at the (container) yard due to their pending cases,” Austria added.

Cases pending decision poses a bottleneck in the removal of overstaying containers at the yard as shipments with undecided cases cannot be auctioned or disposed of in accordance with law, the official pointed out.

Austria added all the cases have been “catalogued” in a computer data base where each case details and status can be easily monitored.

“With this, overdue cases can easily be identified and assigned for faster disposition from the Law Division,” Austria said.

To shorten the time to decide on cases, Austria said the Law Division has decided to dispense with the “formal type” of proceedings; claimants are now encouraged to submit position papers preparatory to rendering a decision.

The new procedure, he stressed, “lessens the time a seized, forfeited, or abandoned shipment gets to be ready for auction or condemnation.”

Although stakeholders are now relieved that port congestion has been effectively addressed by Austria, the faster disposition of cases would further allow the MICP to remove more containers in the yard thus further improving yard utilization.