Home » Customs & Trade » DTI releases order seeking stop to port congestion surcharge

THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has urged international carriers to defer collection of the port congestion surcharge (PCS) while the agency is conducting public hearings on the issue.

In addition, DTI asked shipping lines to submit their position papers to the DTI-Philippine Shippers’ Bureau (DTI-PSB) justifying collection of the PCS.

"In the interest of equity and fairness, all international shipping lines/agents are hereby enjoined to defer the imposition of the PCS while the matter is under consideration by the DTI-PSB as the Advisory/Notice on PCS was issued without the consultation with affected sectors," DTI-PSB hearing officer Atty. Marimel Porciuncula said in her order dated January 14, 2011.

Click here for copy of order.

It may be recalled that a public hearing was called by DTI-PSB on January 7 to discuss the PCS. Shipping lines invited decided to leave after observing "they were about to attend a full-blown public hearing on the port congestion surcharge, not the DTI-PSB consultative meetings they used to attend in the past," Association of International Shipping Lines (AISL) general manager Atty Max Cruz later told PortCalls.

Asked about the DTI order, Cruz said the imposition of the PCS is purely a commercial decision on the part of its members.

"We are leaving it to the lines to submit their paper to the DTI-PSB," he told PortCalls in a text message. "It should also be stressed that not all member lines are imposing the charge. It is an independent action of the lines."

Shipping lines refused to comment on the issue. PortCalls understands that the PCS — $50 for every 20-footer and $100 for every 40-footer — is still being collected.

Congestion at the South Harbor and Manila International Container Terminal has eased up a bit due to fewer imports.

The port operators also expect further reduction in congestion in two weeks with more and more cargo owners withdrawing their containers at a faster pace.

Despite this, the withdrawal of laden containers and deposit of empties can still take up to five days and trips of trucks remain at one roundtrip per week from the usual three to four roundtrips per week under normal conditions.

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