Marcos urged to junk PPA’s container system
MANILA -Five foreign business chambers have opposed the Philippine Port Authority’s (PPA’s) planned cargo container monitoring system, adding their voice the mounting call from numerous private sector groups to junk the measure, which they claim will raise transportation costs.
These are the influential American Chamber of Commerce of the Philipines Inc., European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines Inc., Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Inc., and Korean Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines.
An open letter to President Marcos signed by these organizations, a copy of which was obtained by the Inquirer on Friday, called on the chief executive to urgently and explicitly confirm the repeal of PPA Administrative Order No. 04-2021, which prescribed the Trusted Operator Program-Container Registry and Monitoring System (TOP-CRMS).
The open letter also asked the President to admonish public officials, which were characterized as blatantly disregarding valid concerns from the private and public stakeholders.
The other signatories to the letter include the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc., Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation Inc., Association of International Shipping Lines Inc., Supply Chain Management Association of the Philippines, Philippine Association of Meat Processors and the Alliance of Container Yard Operators of the Philippines.
The other local business groups are the Pasig Port Users United, Philippine Liner Shipping Association, the Philippine Ships’ Agents Association, the Practicing Customs Brokers Association of the Philippines, Inc., the Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters, Inc, the Alliance of Concerned Truck Owners and Organizations, the Customs Brokers Federation of the Philippines, the Philippine Coastwise Shipping Association, the Philippine Multimodal Transport and Logistics Association Inc., the Port Users Confederation of the Philippines Inc. and United Portusers Confederation of the Philippine Inc.
The opposition reiterated their stance that the TOP-CRMS will entail additional direct financial costs from the additional insurance fees, transaction fees, and trucking fees, adding that this will increase the cost of importing goods by as much as 50 percent or at least P35 billion per year.
“PPA’s proposed container monitoring system duplicates existing digital container tracking and booking applications of international shipping lines, terminal and off-dock container yard operators,” read a portion of the letter, adding that planned system is an unnecessary additional layer of bureaucracy that has no clear benefit to the public.
“PPA AO 04-2021 will waste precious public funds under the guise of digitalization when the Bureau of Customs already has an ongoing World Bank-supported digitalization and modernization strategy to curb smuggling,” it read further.
The letter argued that the PPA also has no jurisdiction over the issue of container deposits transactions, indicating that it was in no position nor authority to promise that the TOP-CRMS can do away with those business dealings.
PPA General Manager Jay Santiago has previously defended the TOP-CRMS, citing that the measure seeks to remove the payment of container deposits and to efficiently manage the return of empty containers.
Santiago had said that they have also conducted a series of public consultations and have adjusted their policy direction based on the needs of stakeholders.