Wary traders pin hopes on port scheme probe
MANILA -Four trade groups opposing the new container and tracking system planned by the Philippine Port Authority (PPA) are seeking help from Senators to scrutinize the measure, hoping to expose its alleged pitfalls and stop its execution.
Association of International Shipping Lines (AISL), Philippine Liner Shipping Association, Alliance of Concerned Truck Owners and Organizations and Alliance of Container Yard Operators of the Philippines on Tuesday made the call, urging legislators to investigate the PPA’s Trusted Operator Program-Container Registry and Monitoring System (TOP-CRMS).“We appeal to the Senate, particularly the Senate Committee on Public Services chaired by Sen. Grace Poe,” the trade groups said in a joint statement.
Shipping firms, PPA trade barbs on container tracking system
Senate Resolution No. 484 filed by Sen. Risa Hontiveros intends to clarify the issues surrounding the several administrative orders by the PPA, including Administrative Order 04-2021 that created the TOP-CRMS, which puts in place an electronic tracking and monitoring system for containers going in and out of ports under the PPA’s jurisdiction.
“These issuances, aside from being problematic, unnecessary and arbitrary, can negatively impact the whole industry and ultimately, affect the consumers who will be left to bear the brunt of higher shipping and logistics costs,” the statement added.
The traders’ groups also want to participate in the Senate discussions.
“We do not want a scenario where we will be left with no choice but to pass the additional costs resulting from these policies to the consumers who can barely make both ends meet due to inflation,” said the joint statement.
AISL president Patrick Ronas had earlier estimated that the TOP-CRMS would jack up annual import costs by at least P35 billion. Rising consumer prices this year pose risk to the shipping sector, which has a bullish outlook supported by the continued momentum for cargo deliveries due to the further easing of COVID-19 restrictions, according to an industry player.
Proposed PPA cargo tracker will raise, not lower, costs – brokers
Reynold John Madamba, president and chief operating officer of Lorenzo Shipping Corp., recently told reporters that cargo volume was expected to return to levels last seen before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in 2019.
“We are looking at hopefully reaching prepandemic levels of volume because we see consumer spending picking up, especially when the lockdowns have already been eased,” he said.
Cargo volume amounted to 265.88 million metric tons (MT) in 2019. Cargo throughput was at 261.62 million MT last year. INQ
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