BoC issues interim operational guidelines

Laguna Gateway Inland Container Terminal (LGICT), International Container Terminal Services, Inc.’s (ICTSI) dry port facility in Calamba City, Laguna, is gearing up for brisker business with the recent issuance of LGICT’s interim operational guidelines by the Bureau of Customs (BoC).

“LGICT is an innovation we launched to improve the flow of trade in southern Luzon. As an extension of the seaport, specifically ICTSI’s flagship Manila International Container Terminal (MICT), the Laguna dry port is at the heart of manufacturing activities. We are bringing the trading gateway at the doorstep of the economic zones,” says Christian R. Gonzalez, ICTSI senior vice president and head of the Asia Pacific region and the MICT.

“We thank Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon for supporting us in LGICT. The interim operational guidelines will give us headway in priming the dry port for container volumes in the coming months. We are glad to be the pioneering facility of this kind in the country,” he adds.

Last June 17, Commissioner Faeldon issued Customs Memorandum Order No. 12-2017 providing guidelines on clearance procedures for import and export containers at the LGICT. The memorandum was issued pending the approval of a customs administrative order on accredited customs facilities and warehouses.

The Laguna dry port is the first customs facility under the 2015 Customs Modernization and Tariff Act, and the first off dock container yard in southern Luzon. In February, the BoC certified LGICT as an authorized off dock customs facility, enabling the BoC to extend its functions and activities at the dry port.

LGICT, which implemented electronic data transfer technology, is designed to accelerate trade facilitation in the region. It is the first customs facility in the country to use the electronic cargo tracking system for inbound and outbound cargo transfers. Currently, a fleet of reach stackers, empty handlers and prime movers are in operation at the terminal.

LGICT has allocated five hectares of yard space as customs area, which can accommodate 5,000 TEUs at any one time. Services offered include laden container storage, empty depot, reefer container plugs, dedicated loading and stripping area, and subleasing of select terminal areas.

Clients using the LGICT must declare goods and details of delivery in any shipping document such as master bill of lading, house bill of lading, or inward foreign manifest. Clients should also be registered at BoC’s Client Profile Registration System to ensure a business’ good track record, location in southern Luzon, and contribution to the national economy.

Only accredited and registered trucks are allowed to deliver containers to and from MICT and LGICT. For the security and safety of cargo, trucks must have a vehicle tracking system (VTS) linked to the onsite BoC system.

“We are about to complete the building of a one-stop-shop that will house BoC and Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) offices. In the near future, we will commission rubber tired gantries in the container yard, construct container freight stations and warehouses, and in the soonest time possible, revive freight rail services between Laguna and the Port of Manila,” says Mr. Gonzalez.

“All of these redound to the benefit of southern Luzon businessmen: improved economies of scale, efficient and seamless movement of goods, optimized costs, and over the long term, good business. LGICT enhances industrial productivity of the PEZA zones, especially customs bonded warehouses, and multinational companies using outside yard warehouse,” he adds.

Supporting trade activities of economic zones within a 30-kilometer radius, the 21-hectare LGICT has a capacity of 250,000 TEUs annually. Strategically located at the heart of southern Luzon, the Laguna dry port primarily serves the industrial provinces of Laguna, Batangas, and Quezon, including the eastern front of Cavite.