Ports agency is studying ways to implement DoTr directive to reduce shipping, travel costs

THE Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) is looking at reducing port costs by reviewing the statutory and regulatory expenses paid by users, said Officer-in-Charge General Manager Manuel A. Boholano, citing the the agency is under orders to implement such reductions from the Department of Transportation (DoTr).

“Our first business order is to follow the directive of (Transportation Secretary Jaime J. Bautista) to lower travel and shipping costs,” Mr. Boholano said in his anniversary message delivered on the 48thika agency anniversary on Tuesday.

Port users are complaining about rising shipping costs and the impact of higher oil prices.

Shipping companies have raised their freight charges by an average of 25% since March, logistics companies said.

“Fuel prices continued to rise in tandem with the conflict in Ukraine and this pushed the group’s bunkering cost to P486 million, a 43% increase annually. As a result, the value of sales and services increased to P1.22 billion, ”said Chelsea Logistics and Infrastructure Holdings Corp. in its first quarter report.

Lorenzo Shipping Corp. said. in their report for the first quarter it saw “an increase in direct costs amounting to P796 million from last year of P711 million due to rising fuel prices.”

Industry designer Kenneth Cobonpue said back then The Chiefs in the One News program last week that freight rates have risen significantly.

“In terms of exports, shipping, logistics (are) big problems. Previously, a 40-foot (container) shipping from Cebu to Los Angeles cost $ 3,000. Now the price is anywhere from $ 15,000 to $ 18,000. That price really sweeps all the margins. That is the problem with exports, ”Mr. Cobonpue said.

The PPA said any possible reduction in port-related costs would be in addition to the current terminal fee exemptions enjoyed by students, senior citizens, differently-abled persons, uniformed personnel, and Medal of Valor awardees and their first- degree relative.

“Since its first application before the pandemic, the free terminal fee is equivalent to a benefit (worth) of P7 million a month (on) average,” it said.

The agency also said its ports were “continuing to climb” from the pandemic, citing a 130% increase to 20.87 million passengers handled from January to May 2022, from 9.07 million passengers last year.

Containerized cargo traffic grew by 3.84% to 3.12 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) from 3 million TEUs previously.

Meanwhile, ship calls increased by 13.4% for the period compared to 153,007 ship calls in the same period last year.

Total freight volume remains flat at 101.74 million metric tons, the PPA said. – Arjay L. Balinbin