THE online Terminal Appointment Booking System (TABS), the government’s innovative solution to boost the country’s supply chain, has kept international port gateway Manila South Harbor humming and buzzing in support of the country’s economy.
Its operator, listed Asian Terminals Inc. (ATI), reported handling more truck transactions with quicker truck-turnaround time since implementing TABS in October last year, thereby facilitating faster flow of commodities to the market.
From processing around 800 trucks in a 12-hour shift prior to TABS, Manila South Harbor is now servicing over 1,000 trucks on the average, for over a 20-percent increase in production.
In related developments, South Harbor set a new operations record this February, as production averaged an all-time-high 30 container moves per crane per hour. This production level is world-class, and is comparable to global trade giants Singapore and Hong Kong ports. Production is measured by how many containers a crane moves from ship to shore per hour.
TABS works like an airline-booking system, which allows customs brokers to conveniently schedule the pickup and delivery of containers at Manila ports.
Booking is done by selecting time slots across the 24-hour, seven-day week period. Sufficient slots are available, enabling brokers to rationally plan deliveries once port fees and Customs duties are settled.
Since the system is automated and online, it is free from any form of human intervention, promoting greater transparency and streamlined processes for the industry.
With confirmed booking, a broker’s truck simply has to show up at the terminal within its schedule and it is immediately served. The orderly arrival of trucks spread throughout the day avoids bottlenecks at the port’s gates and eases traffic flow along major roads.
Since transactions are preadvised, the port operator can adequately deploy resources that match actual demand. This allows pre-positioning of containers for faster container pickup, as against digging up a box from a five-high stack upon the truck’s arrival, the practice prior to TABS. Faster turnaround time gives truckers more opportunities to do multiple trips per day.
Despite more transactions, truck-service time became faster, consistent with what TABS had been envisioned to deliver. Of over 113,000 South Harbor-bound trucks from October to January, 89 percent were served within 15 minutes to less than an hour of gate entry.
Following the successful pilot run of TABS, an enhanced system will be implemented by mid-March, including truck-ban exemption and truck access on Roxas Boulevard, as approved by the Metro Manila Council and as earlier announced by Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras.
This will be applicable for TABS-registered trucks and those with valid terminal booking. Valid bookings can easily be verified via short-message-system by dialing 292908120 from any mobile-phone devise.
Government-mandated penalties will also be in place to safeguard the system from abuse and misuse.a