DA chief seeks discounts on freight rates for agri products

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freight rate discounts
  • Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. said he will push for discounts on freight rates for agricultural products to keep food prices affordable
  • The Department of Agriculture, in partnership with the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), will ensure that a policy that requires domestic shipping lines to allocate space in their vessels for all agricultural and food products be strictly implemented
  • The DA will meet with PPA to discuss effective implementation of the measures
  • A Department of Transportation order issued in 2020 had required all domestic shipping lines to extend a discount of no less than 40% of their shipping rates for all agricultural and food products
  • The order also required that at least 12% of a vessel’s cargo capacity be exclusively allocated for agricultural and food products

Agriculture Secretary Francisco Tiu Laurel Jr. said he will push for discounts on freight rates for agricultural products to keep food prices affordable.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) chief, in partnership with the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), will ensure that a policy that requires domestic shipping lines to allocate space in their vessels for agricultural and food products be strictly implemented.

The DA said they were informed by the PPA of the policy during an earlier meeting between the two agencies.

“We will again meet with PPA GM Jay (Santiago) on how to effectively implement these,” Tiu Laurel said. The DA said the forthcoming meeting was prompted by complaints from highland vegetable farmers and traders concerning the high cost of transportation of agricultural products, whether by land or by sea.

Department of Transportation (DOTr) Department Order No. 2020-007 requires all domestic shipping lines to extend a discount of no less than 40% of their shipping rates for all agricultural and food products, as well as to allocate at least 12% of a vessel’s cargo capacity per voyage exclusively for agricultural and food products.

READ: Domestic lines ordered to cut agri, food shipping rates by 40%

The order was issued in 2020 to support the government’s policy, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, “to ensure food availability and affordability, boost domestic agricultural production and food processing; and ensure that their movements shall remain unhampered.”

The order is implemented by Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) Advisory No. 2020-54, the enforcement of which was reiterated by MARINA to domestic shipping lines last year.

READ: MARINA issues rules on allocated space, discount for food, agri cargoes

In an earlier statement, Santiago said it’s about time that the PPA and DA converge in implementing environmentally-sustainable practices in port operations to minimize the ecological impact and ensure long-term positive effects in agriculture and fisheries.

“The key here is coming together for one goal of providing better services for the public – convergence of government agencies and convenience for all port users and the communities. It is about partnerships and creating the best port and agricultural infrastructure to develop efficient logistics and speed up the delivery and distribution of products through mechanization and modernization,” Santiago said.