Home » Maritime » Cargo-handling rate increase looms

SHIPPERS may have to contend with higher cargo-handling rates very soon as the Philippine Chamber of Arrastre and Stevedoring Operators (PCASO) prepares to seek a rate increase petition.

PCASO chair Benjamin Akol said association members have long been shouldering additional costs brought about by recent hikes in labor, power, fuel and other operational expenses, making the tariff increase necessary.

PCASO is the country’s biggest organization of cargo-handling operators. Members operate major ports in such places as Cagayan de Oro and Cebu.

“The percentage of increase has yet to be determined but we are looking at something that will cover the increases in wages and oil (prices) in the past three years,” Akol explained.

During that period, salaries and wages grew 10-15%. In July alone, the latest round of wage hikes was implemented, jacking up the minimum wage by 6%.

Fuel cost, specifically diesel, also increased significantly in the last two to three years from only P20-P25 per liter to the current P33-P35 per liter. So have power rates which rose more than 10% from their 2008 levels.

The last time cargo-handling rates of PCASO members increased was in 2005. At that time, the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) approved a 30% hike.

Earlier, the PPA revised guidelines for rate increase applications to ensure greater transparency in the process.

Individual service providers are now required to submit financial statements to include the balance sheet, income statement using appropriate chart of account in accordance with the Philippine financial reporting system; detailed computation of proposed rates; and copies of source documents like government-mandated wage adjustment, increase in power and fuel cost, and exchange rate of the Philippine peso to the US dollar.

For across-the-board increases, the PPA now requires a detailed computation of the proposed rates as well as copies of source documents such as the consumer price index, wage adjustment orders, increases in power and fuel and the foreign exchange rates.

The source documents should include figures for the year the last increase was granted up to the present year where adjustment of rate is required.

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