DOMESTIC shipping lines are seeing potential losses because the rates matrix for the 10% provisional cargo-handling tariff increase recently granted by the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) came a day after implementation date.
“We could incur some losses due to PPA’s late release of the matrix. We will not be able to pass on the increase to the shippers with immediate effect,” Lorenzo Shipping Corp. president Roberto Umali told PortCalls in a text message.
The PPA approved the tariff increase on all arrastre and stevedoring services, and imposed other cargo-handling-related charges on foreign and domestic cargoes effective June 24.
PPA’s Commercial Services Department (CSD) was given 15 days from the date of publication (May 25) to provide adjusted rates to all qualified cargo-handling operators. June 10 came and, still, no restructured matrices for the rates were sent to shipping lines and port management offices across the country.
The matrices arrived on June 25.
In a letter to PPA general manager Juan Sta. Ana and CSD manager Emma Suzara dated June 19, the Philippine Liner Shipping Association (PLSA) had asked for a deferment of the implementation of the rate increase and recommended “that any adjustment should take effect 30 days after receipt of the PPA matrix of restructured CH tariff.”
A source from the industry said domestic shipping lines, as of press time, were doing their “best efforts” to revise their billing systems in line with the restructured matrices.
In a letter dated June 25 to PLSA, PPA said the matrices were not released “in view of the directive by the PPA Board that clearance from higher authorities be sought.”
The letter also said the clearance was only received in the afternoon of June 21.
In another letter dated June 26, the port agency clarified the adjusted cargo-handling tariffs of the qualified cargo-handling operators were sent “through fax, e-mail and courier… to the PDOs (port district offices) and PMOs (port management offices)” after the clearance was signed in the afternoon of June 21.
The letter stated that “as a standard operating procedure, it shall be the responsibility of the PDOs/PMOs to disseminate/provide the adjusted tariff rates to port users and other concerned.”
Out of the 153 cargo handlers, PPA said only 35 were qualified for the rate increase.
Reached by phone, Manila North Harbour Port Inc. chief executive officer Richard Barclay said North Port implemented the increase on June 27 to give “shipping lines more time and (the port operator) to record it (the new rates) to our systems.” Barclay said one or two parties had complaints.