THE Bureau of Customs (BoC) raised P1.077 billion from the disposal of 3,514 overstaying containers last year as part of an overall port decongestion effort.

The BoC said in a statement Thursday that revenue was generated from auctions involving 1,898 containers, holding items like televisions, tiles and plywood.

It donated the contents of 270 containers while that of 1,346 containers was condemned.

“The significance of these disposition activities is in connection with the ease of doing business in the bureau, as these will also result in the decongestion of ports and yards,” the BoC said.

After the lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) starting mid-March, ports started experiencing congestion in early April, putting them at risk of shutting down.

Unclaimed containers piled up in ports, especially in Manila, as factories shut down operations and travel restrictions hampered their ability to move goods.

Customs issued Circular Memorandum Order No. 10-2020 on April 8, 2020, declaring that cargo in ports and yards found to have overstayed more than 30 days from the date of discharge will be classified as abandoned.

Disposals helped make way for incoming shipments of critical goods, including food, medical items and personal protective equipment.

The BoC is authorized by law to donate, declare for official use, or sell at auction seized or abandoned items. Food, clothes, medicine and other goods that are suitable for shelter can also be donated to the Department of Social Welfare and Development. — Beatrice M. Laforga