Home » Customs & Trade » The good news: No hauling rate hike yet; The bad: Increase may be more

THE Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines (CTAP) has decided to defer its proposed hauling rate increase.

But shippers should not celebrate just yet as the rate increase – when it comes – may even be higher than the earlier proposed 20%. CTAP resumes debates on the issue on the second Wednesday of January.

Last week, CTAP announced it was eyeing a 20% hike in hauling fees as early as next month to cover the cost of elevated fuel prices and the looming increase in toll fees at the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) and South Luzon Expressway (SLEx).

CTAP president Ruperto Bayocot told PortCalls the increase will definitely push through; only the percentage is up for discussion.

"Many of our directors objected to the proposed percentage of rate increase, claiming it may not be enough considering deliberations are still ongoing as to the (actual) increase in toll fees whether it is 250% (for SLEx) or not," Bayocot told PortCalls.

"We will now instead wait for the decision of the TRB (Toll Regulatory Board) and the High Court before finalizing our rate increase to properly factor all aspects in our computations."

As of last Friday, the TRB was still conducting a public hearing on the proposed hikes at the SLEx and NLEx as well as the Skyway. At the NLEx, the proposed increase is at least 12%. Skyway, on the other hand, wants to revert to its original rates while at the SLEx, the TRB is considering an amended 300+% increase which already factors in the toll operator’s investment on the Calamba-Sto. Tomas, Batangas stretch.

Excluded from any of the proposed rate increases is the 12% value-added tax (VAT). The High Court has yet to decide with finality whether toll fees should be charged VAT or not. In the High Court's December 8 decision, it resolved to hear the petition questioning the constitutionality of the VAT jointly filed by former Nueva Ecija Representative Renato Diaz and former Trade and Industry Assistant Secretary Aurora Maria Timbol.

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