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The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will soon issue a list of agricultural and food products that qualify for discount and cargo space allocation on domestic shipping lines.

The directive is contained in Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) Memorandum Circular (MC) DS-2020-01, which states that qualified agricultural and food products for the cargo space allocation and discount will be those that may be classified by the DTI from time to time. MC DS 2020-01 was published on August 12 and takes effect 15 days after publication.

The circular replaces MARINA Advisory (MA) 2020-54, which provided implementing rules for the Department of Transportation (DOTr) Department Order (DO) No. 2020-07 directing all domestic shipping lines to allocate space in their vessels for agricultural and food products and to extend a discount for said commodities.

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

Like MA 2020-54, MC DS-2020-01 instructs all domestic shipping lines to allocate at least 12% of their vessel’s cargo capacity per voyage for the exclusive accommodation of agricultural and food products, and to extend a discount of no less than 40% of the carriers’ published shipping rates to these cargoes.

Cargoes covered in MC DS-2020-01 should be purely agricultural and food products, shipped in whatever manner or form, such as, but not limited to, roll-on/roll-off cargoes and conventional cargoes (whether loose or bulk).

Agricultural and food products are defined as any product or commodity, raw or processed, marketed for human consumption (excluding water, salt and additives).

Livestock and animal feeds are not considered agricultural and food products under the guidelines.

In case of inter-port operation, the vessel will be considered compliant with the requirement at the port where the 12% space allocation was utilized irrespective of whether the port is the point of origin or the subsequent port of call. This rule will likewise apply to the preferential rate of 40% discount.

Inter-port operation is a ship’s voyage involving multiple ports of call and will be considered as a single voyage.

MC DS-2020-01 notes that domestic shipping lines may opt to offer for pre-payment/hard blocking the 12% allocated cargo space as required for the purpose of applying the 40% discount.

Should the minimum threshold of 12% not be fully utilized within 12 hours prior to loading closing time of a particular voyage as prescribed by the port operator, the shipowner/operator may offer the remaining available space to other shippers for other types of cargoes.

The 12% allocated cargo space should be granted on a “first come, first served” basis.

Domestic shipping lines are not precluded from extending discounts of more than 40%.

DO 2020-07 was issued to support the government’s policy, especially during the coronavirus disease pandemic, “to ensure food availability and affordability, boost domestic agricultural production and food processing; and ensure that their movements shall remain unhampered.” – Roumina Pablo

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