Home » Maritime » Maritime sector continues to lack long-term goals

THE government’s shortsighted approach to developing the maritime industry is keeping the country’s ship registry from attracting more international carriers.

Atty. Jose Adolfo Cruz, fleet manager of United Philippine Lines Inc, said the Philippines is losing out to developing countries in the region such as Vietnam since authorities have no long-term goals on how to make the country a maritime destination.

“Lead agencies are not doing anything to investigate why the Philippines is not a destination for firms and there is no official government position. The Philippines needs long-term solutions and not short-term goals,” he said.

“The Philippine should study or investigate the reasons why we are slowly losing out to Vietnam or to any other nation to lay down the necessary measures to compete,” Cruz added.

“If we are only making measures without determining the causes, then we will continue to be shunned by foreign investors. The Philippines should have a basis in making these efforts,” Cruz explained.

He said authorities’ efforts to promote the Philippine ship registry and other maritime development programs depend on personalities that keep changing with each administration.

Earlier, the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) said it was pushing for foreign shipping firms, through their ship management agencies, to be allowed to set up their own businesses here and for their vessels to be registered under the Philippine flag.

The proposal also provides for the establishment of register offices in other countries, especially shipowning ones such as the United Kingdom and Greece, to facilitate, control and enforce compliance of ships flying the flag.

The proposal is on top of the easing of the country’s bareboat chartering law in 2004. The latter development, which has removed stringent ship owning rules and other requirements, has been deemed ineffective.

In the past two years, there have been no improvements in the country’s ship registry.

The number of Philippine-registered vessel has remained stagnant at 168 ships, from about 400 in the 1980s and early 1990s.

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