More than 50 members of the Philippine Coastwise Shipping Association (PCSA) gathered Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, to discuss what they described as an “unreasonable” and “unconditional” increase in the stevedoring rates for Tier 3 Ports including the Port of Ormoc City in Leyte by the PPA.
Stevedoring charges are fees collected for loading and stowing or unloading a ship.
According to PPA Administrative Order 10-2019 released in 2019, the stevedoring fees for general cargo and consumer goods have increased at least 500 to 1,000 percent, respectively.
General cargo shipment rates are now at P489 (palletized) and P543 (non-palletized) from P12.75 (palletized) and P18.10 (non-palletized) per cubic meter or metric tons.
Consumer goods (rice, corn, flour, sugar, milk) rates are now at P117 (palletized) and P130 (non-palletized) from P12.75 (palletized) and P18.10 (non-palletized) per cubic meter or metric tons.
Other rate-increases are also noted from dry bulk cargo, containerized cargo, and line handling fees.
The PCSA stated that the increases are inhuman considering the tremendous effects of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) on the economy. It feared rates might go up more with the progressive increase in fuel prices brought about by the Russia-Ukraine war.
The association further narrated that PPA’s administrative order was passed without a proper public hearing between its stakeholders and the requisite Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) mandated under Republic Act 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.
Due to these deficiencies, the PCSA wants the new order suspended and for PPA to submit to the Anti-Red Tape Authority or ARTA.
Meanwhile, the four House representatives invited to the meeting asked the PCSA for their supporting documents. They gave assurance that they would look into the matter and author a resolution to regulate the rates if needed.
Among the congressmen invited were Deputy Speaker Rep. Vincent Franco “Duke” Frasco of Cebu’s Fifth District; Sandro Gonzalez, First Rep. of Marino Partylist, Ron Salo of the Kabayan Party-list, and Rep. Edu Rama of Cebu City’s Second District.
The PCSA said they also invited the PPA to join the event, but they did not confirm their attendance.
The PCSA is the largest shipping association in the Philippines and the biggest in terms of total gross tonnage of ships combined. It represents 50 members with more than 600 vessels from small to medium in size.