MANILA – The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) on Monday clarified that its new policy on the registration and monitoring of containers coming in and out of the country is meant to lessen cargo importation costs, contrary to the claims of logistics companies.
In a radio interview, PPA General Manager Jay Daniel Santiago blasted the claims of an importation price hike through PPA Administrative Order No. 04-2021 and the proposed “Trusted Operator Program-Container Registry and Monitoring System (TOPS-CRMS).”
“Kami po ay mag-a-adopt ng bagong plataporma po para po sa pagmo-monitor at pagre-rehistro nung mga containers natin para po bumaba ang binabayaran ng mga kababayan natin diyan po sa pag iimporta ng mga kargamento (We are looking to adopt a new platform for the monitoring and registration of containers to help lower importation costs for the public),” Santiago said.
He said the claims of logistics companies of a price hike stem from the possibility of less income from the PHP3,000 container deposit charge that will be replaced with the container deposit insurance that will cost about PHP980.
“Yan [container deposit] ay kinikita nila maliban pa po yan doon sa iba pa pong mga charges na ipinapataw po nila. Pwede naman po sanang maiwasan pero sinasabi ng iba diyan na nakasanayan na yan, hindi na po tinatanggal (The container deposit is on top of other charges they bill for. We can avoid this but some are used to it so it was not removed),” he said.
He noted that the new policy will address many complaints about the container deposit charge.
In addition, he said the policy’s Empty Container Storage Shared Service Facility (ECSSSF) is meant to address the issue of having no space for empty containers.
“Naniningil na po yung shipping line ng PHP1,500 sasabihin po sa kanila, sige trucker isoli mo yang container, pagdating po dun, hindi sila papapasukin kasi walang espasyo daw (Shipping lines charge PHP1,500 for the return of empty containers and when the trucker reaches the container yard, they can’t enter because there is no space),” he said.
The truckers, he said, will have to drive around the storage yard until they get free space and will have to deal with corrupt enforcers looking for handouts.
“Kapag minalas malas ka po—at ito ay nai-report na rin samin—24 oras umiikot ikot yung truck, naka meet po siya ng three shifts ng enforcers. So, nasa 900 o isang libo ang binayad nila sa lagay lamang po sa loob ng isang araw (If they’re unlucky—and this has been reported to us—the trucker would drive around for 24 hours and meet three shifts of enforcers. That would cost them around PHP900 to PHP1,000 under-the-table handouts a day),” he said.
To date, he said the new policy is deferred “indefinitely”, with its Implementing Operating Guidelines (IOG) still in a draft phase.
“Sa kasamaang palad lamang yung iba pong kasama natin sa PPA Board ay imbis pong pag-usapan yun pong IOG ay ito po ay pina-defer po ng mayorya ng implementasyon dahil meron nga daw po nago-oppose (Unfortunately, some of our coworkers at the PPA board preferred to defer the discussion on the IOG and its implementation due to opposition),” he said.
He noted that those who oppose the policy are trying to create fear in the sector by circulating that the policy would soon be implemented even though there is no definitive date.
“Wala pa po kaming sini-set na fix na date. At yan nga po ay dumadaan pa po sa pagaaral po kasi talaga pong kino-kunsulta po namin lahat ng sector (We haven’t set a fixed date. And this is still going through a study and we’re consulting everybody in the sector),” he said.
On Friday, the Association of International Shipping Lines (AISL) and its members opposed the TOP-CRMS and claimed that its implementation would contribute to increased costs.
The TOP-CRMS and the ECSSSF, the AISL claimed, will result in an almost 50 percent increase in the cost of importing goods. (PNA)