DTI seeks halt to new port fees, charges
MANILA -The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on Tuesday said it was pushing for a moratorium on new port fees and charges, as well as the regulation of international shipping charges.
Trade Undersecretary Ruth Castelo said these measures were in line with their thrust to reduce transport and logistics costs in the country, which is one of the six agendas that the department is pushing for to ensure food security.
“We want a moratorium on pass-through fees, a moratorium on the imposition of additional port fees and other charges, zero tolerance on gray costs and legislation to regulate high international shipping charges,” Castelo said during a government forum held late Tuesday afternoon.
“Controversial, but once it’s done, it’s going to provide us the results that we want,” she added.
Sought for comment, the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (Philexport) told the Inquirer that this move would be a welcome relief to the export industry.
“We agree fully as the representative of exporters in the country as many of us have been suffering from the increases of these costs, left and right. Sometimes, we are not even consulted on these,” Philexport president Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. said in a phone interview.
But in the meantime, cargo owners, shipping lines and other port users will be paying more for certain services at the Dumaguete Port and Manila North Harbor Port (MNHP), according to the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).
In a series of issuances, the ports regulator said it had approved a 10-percent increase in cranage rates being collected at MNHP, one of the country’s busiest ports that is operated by Razon-led International Container Terminal Services, Inc., effective Aug. 17. A 20-foot container and below will be charged P1,558.50 each if loaded and P1,310.50 if empty. Bigger containers will have a cranage fee of P2,180 for loaded and P1,689 for empty.
PPA also approved a 9-percent hike, effective Aug. 18, in 13 other services at MNHP, including hustling of containers, administrative fees, crane standby and extra labor services such as stevedoring and delivery.
For the Dumaguete Port, cargo handling fees for domestic shipments will be increased by 10 percent starting Aug. 17.PPA also approved cargo-handling tariffs for foreign noncontainerized cargo at the Dumaguete port, effective on Aug. 17.
For nonpalletized shipment, arrastre fee per ton is P108.45 while stevedoring rate is P27.Arrestre fee per ton, meanwhile, is P84.50 while stevedoring charge is P19.10 for palletized cargo.
In the first quarter, container traffic rose by 5 percent to 1.99 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) from 1.89 million TEU in the same period a year ago with the return of more trading activities three years after the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
This year, PPA expects container traffic to grow by 7 percent to 8 percent.
Lorenzo Shipping Corp. president Reynold John Madamba, meanwhile, also said earlier that the shipping sector was likely to recover this year following the easing of mobility restrictions, adding that cargo volume could even return to prepandemic levels.
This means hitting a cargo volume of at least 265.88 million metric tons, which was the level posted in 2019. Cargo throughput was at 261.62 million last year.