Home » Breaking News, Maritime » Higher B/L fee in PH pushed

The Philippine Shippers’ Bureau (PSB) has asked international shipping lines calling Philippine ports to justify their planned $10 increase in bill of lading (B/L) fee.

Carriers currently collect an average $30 per B/L.

In a public hearing called by PSB last week, PSB director Atty. Pedro Vicente Mendoza gave shipping lines until end of the week to submit their justification for the adjustment.

Only Cosco attended the meeting; another hearing may be called as a result.

“From our standpoint, there is really no need to increase the B/L fee because of reasons of global economic slowdown and fuel (price hikes),” Mendoza told PortCalls, adding that the “usual reason that the increase is ordered by foreign principals” will also not do.

“We want shipping lines to satisfactorily explain to PSB why they have to increase their fee. Otherwise, we will be forced to issue several reprimands or penalties to them allowed under our agency,” Mendoza said.

Industry sources are, however, wondering how effective PSB’s role is in stopping the adoption of a higher B/L fee, considering the bureau has no jurisdiction over international container shipping lines. The reality is that there is no Philippine agency regulating the liners.

Add to this the transfer of Mendoza to another bureau of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) beginning today (Mar 19). Mendoza will be replaced for six months by Victor Mario Dimagiba, former director of the Bureau of Trade Regulation and Consumer Protection.

On top of the planned increase in B/L fee, stakeholders who attended the hearing — mostly international freight forwarders — are complaining of the container deposit fee collected by shipping lines. The stakeholders claim reimbursement of the deposit fee often takes a long time.

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