Private-sector businesses using Manila’s domestic seaport are opposing the more than 25% cargo-handling tariff rate increase proposed by Manila North Harbour Port Inc. (MNHPI), saying that it is unwarranted at present. They also opposed a cranage fee that the port operator wants to impose.
The Philippine Liner Shipping Association (PLSA) and the Supply Chain Management Association of the Philippines (SCMAP), in separate position papers submitted to the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), said the tariff hike sought is “not justified”.
MNHPI, the North Harbor Port operator, was instructed by PPA to submit audited financial statements for 2010-2012 and a list of acquired and installed equipment to stakeholders in the initial public hearing of the proposed tariff hike on April 3. MNHPI produced the audited 2010, 2011 financial statements and an unaudited January-October 2012 financial statement.
Stakeholders emphasized their evaluation is limited because the 2012 financial statement covered only up to October.
MNHPI cited several cost drivers on the 25.57% increase, namely, labor, power, fuel and oil and repairs and maintenance. PLSA said it deemed the port operator’s computation inaccurate.
PLSA’s own computation, based on MNHPI’s financial statement, showed the port operator’s existing rates are more than enough for it to earn substantially. PLSA noted MNHPI had already earned P1.16 billion with a required revenue adjustment of ‐26.25% and return on rate base at 205.25% as of October 2012.
SCMAP recommended that the PPA, the mediator and government unit that regulates ports, review MNHPI’s calculations on cost drivers.
Both SCMAP and PLSA are asking for a documented status report on the modernization of the North Harbor, saying any rate increase should be supported by improvements in productivity and investment.
Crane rate petition
Meanwhile, PLSA said the P1,900 crane rate per loaded container is 337% higher than the fee in ports like Cebu (P666), Cagayan de Oro (P450) and Manila International Container Terminal-South Harbor (P626.25).
PLSA said comparison with the MICT and Batangas Port should be “apple to apple” or based on the same type of product, service or operation, while SCMAP said the comparison is irrelevant. Rates at the port should be lower, not higher, due to a much bigger volume.
SCMAP said it will accept a 3% adjustment per year or a tariff hike of 9%, equal to the inflation rate in the past three years, but suggests that the increase be imposed in the latter part of the year. PLSA said the port should offer a “value of service” that equals the proposed tariff increase.
PLSA clarified that the organization is not against any adjustment or increase, if reasonable and justifiable.
Both groups expect the PPA to conduct a thorough review of MNHPI’s proposal and come up with a “realistic and fair” tariff increase.
Photo from www.mnhport.com.ph