Home » Ports/Terminals » Local lines slap North Harbor operator with demurrage fee

A FEW domestic carriers are now charging North Harbor operator Manila North Harbour Port, Inc (MNHPI) a demurrage fee for delays in the servicing of vessels.

Lorenzo Shipping, National Marine Container Lines and Negros Navigation last week began imposing a P20,000 demurrage fee on MNHPI for every hour that their vessels are not serviced by the port operator.

Some other lines are reportedly following suit.

“We have no choice but to charge such a fee to compel MNHPI to remedy the (chaotic) situation as they have yet to make good on their word that additional equipment are coming this month,” a shipping line executive who requested anonymity said.

MNHPI took over operations of the North Harbor on April 11, 2010. Since then, there have been persistent complaints from port users of a lack of equipment.

“The little reprieve we are (experiencing) now… cannot be attributed to MNHPI,” the executive said, noting that shipping lines are now using their own equipment just to ensure there are no delays in operations.

Under the North Harbor contract, MNHPI is obligated to provide all the equipment.

“But we can’t go on like this… (providing our own equipment) is (now leading) to (higher) overheads. This is only a band-aid solution as it is the duty of MNHPI to provide the needed facilities,” he added.

As a result of shipping lines’ own initiatives, vessel turnaround has improved from one roundtrip per week to two roundtrips per week. But this is still half the previous average record of four per week.

Meanwhile, shipping lines are asking MNHPI to recall an order imposing a standby time fee of at least P1,000 per hour in case of delayed vessel arrivals. The carriers are instead pushing for the application of a Philippine Ports Authority ruling which allows for a two-hour grace period.

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