North Port operator Manila North Harbour Port Inc. (MNHPI) has revived its petition for a cargo-handling rate hike after the three-year rate increase moratorium under its contract lapsed at the start of this month.
MNHPI has, however, amended its proposal originally submitted to the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) more than a year ago. The operator is now asking for a 25% across-the-board increase for all kinds of cargo, as well as a cranage fee of P2,000 per lift for the operation of MNHPI’s three new quay cranes.
In contrast, its old petition sought a 20% rate increase for containerized cargo and 30% tariff hike for bulk cargoes.
The PPA sat on MNHPI’s old petition by virtue of a North Port contract provision that barred the winning operator from increasing rates for a period of three years from the time of takeover. MNHPI took over North Port, formerly known as North Harbor, in April 2010.
Just as in its original petition, MNHPI said the rate increase is needed to cover additional expenses brought about by soaring fuel, labor, maintenance and other costs related to port operations.
The PPA hearing panel conducted its initial public consultation on the issue last week. The panel is led by Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) OIC administrator Atty. Nicasio Conti and Bureau of Consumer Protection chief Atty. Pedro Vicente Mendoza. Mendoza is also the former executive director of the Philippine Shippers’ Bureau.
During the public consultation, the PPA hearing panel asked MNHPI to provide its latest financial statement to justify the proposed rate increase. The same financial statement will be shared with the Philippine Liner Shipping Association, Supply Chain Management Association of the Philippines, and Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, among others, to help the associations come up with position papers on the petition.
As expected, the private sector opposed the proposed rate hike, claiming its basis should be revenues of the port operator and not volume passing through the port.
In the first two months of 2013, North Port handled a total of 2.20 million metric tons (mmt) or 73% of the total volume handled by the Port District Office-Manila, within which the port operates.
In terms of containerized cargo volume, North Port ranks first in volume of domestic containerized cargo handled with 138,054 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).
Last year, North Port registered total cargo volume of 19.150 mmt and domestic containerized volume of 863,912 TEUs.
Photo from www.mnhport.com.ph