Home » Ports/Terminals » PLSA readies case vs PPA, new North Harbor operator

THE Philippine Liner Shipping Association (PLSA) is expected to file a case in the next few days against officials of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and new North Harbor operator Manila North Harbour Port, Inc (MNHPI) to settle two controversial issues under the port contract.

The case will seek to delete the 5% concession fee on third-party ancillary services and force MNHPI to comply with the minimum cargo-handling equipment under the 25-year management and operations contract of the North Harbor.

“The petition is almost ready and a draft has been forwarded to our members for approval,” according to a ranking PLSA official who requested anonymity.

“Barring any favorable development, we are set to file the petition by tomorrow or Monday at the latest,” the official said.

It may be recalled that in a letter dated March 24, 2010, the PLSA gave PPA and MNHPI five days to respond to their grievances or face a legal battle.

In particular, PLSA is opposing the imposition of the 5% concession fee, claiming it “violates the equal protection clause as it is against public interest. In other ports in the Philippines, the PPA does not charge any concession fee except a P2,000 permit to operate fee. This 5% concession fee would lead to higher operating cost; translate to higher passenger and cargo freight, and ultimately to higher prices of goods and services.”

On the issue of cargo-handling equipment, PLSA said those being installed by MNHPI are ill-suited for operations and do not meet the minimum requirements.

For its part, the Manila North Harbor Joint Committee consisting of PPA and MNHPI representatives passed Resolution No 01-10 on March 18, 2010 which resolved that “the Concession Fee covers service providers that may be allowed by MNHPI to occupy and/or use the Passenger Terminal Buildings (PTBs) and/or other facilities which may be put up at MNH.”

PLSA is, however, against the resolution because the phrase “and/or other facilities which may be put up at MNH” covers the whole pier, terminal and container yard to be put up by MNHPI as part of the North Harbor rehabilitation and therefore all service providers will be practically covered by the concession fee.

Moreover, the resolution does not explicitly amend the PPA-MNHPI contract so the 5% concession fee may still be imposed, the association said.

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