Home » Ports/Terminals » Higher rental fees at North Harbor irk carriers

SHIPPING lines are up in arms over Manila North Harbour Port, Inc’s (MNHPI) recent decision to increase rental rates at the North Harbor by up to 75%.

The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) has already adviced all port stakeholders, including shipping lines, to vacate their leased areas unless they have entered into a new agreement with MNHPI.

A PPA document showed rental rates at the North Harbor jumping at least 25% from the existing P80 per square meter (sqm) to P100 per sqm for open areas. A 75% increase to P140 per sqm for covered areas is also being implemented.

Unacceptable to carriers

According to the Philippine Liner Shipping Association (PLSA), the new rates are unacceptable to its members because they violate orders on rate-setting mechanisms and port rules, specifically PPA memorandum order No. 69-2009 and Section 4.02 of the North Harbor contract entered into by MNHPI with the PPA.

PPA Memorandum Order Number 69-2009 dated November 27, 2009 fixes rental rate on lands at the Manila North Harbor at P80 per sqm until September 2010.

On the other hand, the last sentence of the second paragraph of Section 4.02 of the North Harbor contract states: “Provided, further, that the Authority (PPA) shall exercise its regulatory powers over the Contractor (MNHPI) in the implementation of port rules and regulations as well as in rate setting at the Manila North Harbor.”

In a letter to PPA general manager Atty. Oscar Sevilla, PLSA noted that “public consultation is in order as this (rental increase) involves public interest.”

Aside from higher rental fees, MNHPI has begun imposing an interest of 12% per annum and penalty of 25% per annum on all unpaid accounts, another issue shipping lines claim should have undergone public consultation.

MNHPI took over operations of the North Harbor from PPA on April 11, 2010. Since then, there have been endless complaints about inefficiencies at the port due to lack of cargo-handling equipment.

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