Balikbayan Box Senders Getting Better Protection

2015-0205 Balikbayan Box Senders Getting Better Protection

Important News For Balikbayan Box Shippers

All those, such as OFW’s, who send Balikbayan Boxes back to families in the Philippines have just got a slightly higher level of protection than they had before courtesy of the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC)

Filipinos usually moan about the inertia and lack of assistance they receive from government departments, and in a lot of cases this is well justified, however in this particular instance the protection is better than we could have expected, and is refreshing in the extreme.

The DTI have for some time had a section which shows a list of accredited cargo forwarders as well as list of those, both in the Philippines as well as abroad, who are banned or are suspended. However, these lists were not always kept up to date and it was not easy to actually access them.

The DTI have just updated their website and it is a lot easier to navigate, with the added bonus that the link to the Balikbayan Box accreditation section is easily visible (see screenshot examples below)

(Links to various sections are below the screenshots)

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Clicking the link highlighted by the red arrow takes you direct to this page below:

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The links highlighted by the red arrows take you to internal pages within the DTI site of banned/suspended and accredited cargo forwarders – what is now significant is the link highlighted by the blue arrow which is to the Customs’ new section which is a tracker showing which boxes have had their customs dues paid and released by customs for delivery within the Philippines. These are for Manila and Cebu ports.


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Clicking on the red arrow above takes you to the page below which is that of cleared boxes

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The good bits and the not so good bits – just like adverts, the big, colorful writing is generally followed by small print which is the (sometimes unpalateable) truth of the reality of the situation

Good bits

  • With the lists, the public can see which foreign based and Philippine based cargo forwarders have been banned and those which are still accredited
  • These DTI lists are easier to access
  • The Customs lists of tracked and cleared boxes will tell everyone just that, which boxes, along with company tracking numbers, have cleared Customs by having landing taxes being paid for, this means boxes are ready for internal delivery within the Philippines
  • The Customs lists also show which cargo forwarders are registered with the Customs, giving customers an added level of peace of mind

Not so good bits

  • The Customs tracking lists do not show delivered boxes, that is still the responsibility of the forwarder
  • The DTI lists can be at least a month behind, so keep checking

Balikbayan Box Tracker

Wondering when your Balikbayan Box be delivered to you? Is your Cargo Forwarder giving you the run-around?

The Bureau of Customs has launched a Balikbayan Box Tracker, a simple and hassle-free way of tracking your boxes from abroad online.

Just make sure you know the name of the foreign or local Forwarder, and the Bill of Lading (BL) number of the shipment your box is in. To find out the status of your box, please click the link below.

On the ‘Tracking List’ just type the BL number in the ‘Search’ box and press ‘Enter’ to see the status of your Balikbayan Box. You may also download the Excel file in the ‘Downloadables’ section of the site. Once downloaded, open the file and type ‘Ctrl’ F. Type your BL number and click ‘Enter’ to see the status of your Balikbayan Box.


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