Home » Maritime » PSB to ‘reprimand’ lines adopting surcharges sans public hearing

THE Philippine Shippers’ Bureau (PSB) is keen on reprimanding international carriers that apply additional charges without the proper consultation.

PSB said the extra fees are “local charges absorbed by Philippine shippers” and therefore subject to a public hearing before implementation.

This being the case, PSB executive director Atty. Pedro Vicente Mendoza told PortCalls local shipping agents can actually decide on the issue and do not need the nod of foreign principals.

It may be recalled that agents of international shipping lines in an earlier meeting with shippers called by the PSB said they have no control over the surcharges, as these are decided by their foreign principals.

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Port Users Confederation and the Philippine International Seafreight Forwarders Association said the surcharges weaken the competitiveness of Philippine products in the international market. They are also pass-on costs that will ultimately be borne by the public.

Mendoza said the PSB can no longer do anything about charges that have already been implemented. “What we are doing now is to reprimand carriers as well as local agents to conduct consultations with stakeholders prior to any increase or new charges that will be applied.”

He said the charges affect the competitiveness of the country’s export products “so we are invoking provisions of the Export Competitiveness Act to reprimand the carriers.”

No details were given on the form that the reprimand will take.

Among charges being opposed by shippers are the container imbalance surcharge, container seal fee, detention charges on cancelled booking, container cleaning and washing charges, import cleaning charge, charges on lost equipment interchange report, additional bill of lading copies charge, seawaybill fee, late payment fee, telex release fee, late shipping instruction fee, amendment fee and container insurance charge.

For their part, international carriers said many of the additional charges are minimal could in fact be prevented if shippers adhered to shipping line procedures to the letter.

Another meeting is set in the next two weeks to tackle the surcharges.

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