Home » Maritime » Consumer and Oil Price Watch demands transparency in shipping rates

THE Consumer and Oil Price Watch (COPW) is urging the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) to present the basis for the recent rate increases imposed by interisland shipping operators.

COPW chairman Raul Concepcion said shipping and freight rates must be unbundled to ensure transparency of all the cost components to the customers and end-users.

The group is specifically asking for a comprehensive breakdown of the 5.98% rate increase imposed by the shipping companies in March last year under the Automatic Fuel Rate Adjustment (AFRA) and the 14.5% upward rate adjustment implemented just last month.

The most recent freight rate hike has swelled the AFRA and the General Rate Increase of domestic shipping operators.

“Notwithstanding the deregulation of the domestic shipping industry, there is greater moral responsibility for companies to be transparent. Advocacy is all on the basis of services,” Concepcion said.

Various ship operators have filed notices of upward adjustment on freight and passage rates with the MARINA in September. The 14.5% freight rate increase will be on a staggered basis. These operators include Aboitiz Transport System Corp. and subsidiary Cebu Ferries Corp., Sulpicio Lines, Lorenzo Shipping Corp., Negros Navigation Company, Solid Shipping Lines Corp., NMC Container Lines, Inc. and Oceanic Container Lines, Inc.

In response, the Distribution Management Association of the Philippines has requested the MARINA to issue a temporary restraining order on the rate hike until the issue was settled.

The shippers all agree that the 14.5% rate increase is exorbitant, therefore, an abuse in the implementation or practice of the deregulation policy promoted by the Domestic Shipping Development Act.

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