Home » Customs & Trade » Forex dominates rate increase talks

THE foreign exchange situation will be a crucial issue in talks for a cargo-handling rate increase, Asian Terminals, Inc. (ATI) chair Bryan Smith told PortCalls.

“We are looking at a wide range of issues. But the most vital one is the foreign exchange issue. We are looking at the best percentage not only for the company, the carriers, the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) but also the users,” Smith said.

The Philippine peso was at P41.52 to the US dollar last Dec 21. The currency has appreciated about 19% from the beginning of the year, its strongest in the last seven years.

Smith said ATI has to make sure any fluctuation in foreign exchange rates will have minimal effects on the company’s revenue-generation projections, expansion plans and loan repayment schedule.

A meeting with the PPA is being scheduled to discuss the possible cargo-handling rate hike. Smith said negotiations with the Association of International Shipping Lines are also continuing.

ATI became qualified for a cargo-handling rate increase after completion of the two-tranche rate hike in 2006.

The terminal operator said a rate adjustment is necessary due to cost hikes in fuel and labor.

Apart from ATI, PPA said it expects a petition for increases from International Container Terminal Services, Inc and other cargo-handling operators.

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