Home » 3PL/4PL » EO identifying DOTr as overseer of MTOs almost ready

The draft executive order (EO) that will designate the Department of Transportation (DOTr) as the Philippines’ competent national body that will oversee multimodal transport operators (MTOs) is being finalized.

A ranking DOTr official who requested anonymity, in a text message to PortCalls, said its technical working group is now finalizing the EO, as well as the joint department order (JDO) creating an interagency technical working group for the implementation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Framework Agreement on Multimodal Transport (AFAMT).

The EO will also signal the transfer of the function of accrediting sea freight forwarders from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to the DOTr, which already oversees all other forms of transportation services except sea freight.

Under the AFAMT, forming a national accreditation body is required in order for local MTOs of member nations to be able operate in other ASEAN countries.

Concluded in 2005, this framework agreement has been ratified and is now in force in Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. The Philippines, through then Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), committed to the AFAMT in 2005, but has yet to do the groundwork and institutionalize the agreement.

DOTC had earlier said designating the transport department as the single certifying body was hampered by the EO that designates DTI with the role of accrediting sea freight forwarders. But in June last year, DOTr signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with DTI for the transfer of this function to the transport agency, and was then just awaiting the trade secretary’s signature. The MOA was not signed, however, and the new administration took over.

Sea freight forwarders are covered by EO 514 series of 1992, which converted the Philippine Shippers’ Council into the Philippine Shippers’ Bureau (PSB), whose functions were then turned over to the Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau when DTI implemented its rationalization plan in 2014. The supply chain function of PSB was subsequently transferred to the Supply Chain and Logistics Management Division.

DOTr assistant secretary for road transport and infrastructure Mark Richmund De Leon earlier said that in line with the proposed EO, the DOTr is also planning to create an Office for Multimodal Logistics Transport to handle policies and regulations governing the country’s MTOs.

He noted that in Thailand, an ASEAN peer, about 1,000 to 2,000 personnel are assigned to the Thai multimodal transport office to focus on logistics policies and intermodal facilities planning.

Filipino freight forwarders have for years been pushing for the designation of a national certifying body and the transfer of supervision of sea freight forwarders to the transport department.

Philippine International Seafreight Forwarders Association, Inc. (PISFA) chairman Ma. Emperatriz Regis earlier said that the country would be at the losing end once other ASEAN freight forwarders and logistics providers started to come and operate in the Philippines, while local MTOs were not permitted to penetrate other ASEAN countries.

According to the National Economic and Development Authority, the Philippines, so as to pursue other free trade agreements, especially with Europe, is required to have the capacity to issue single administrative documents that MTOs must sign.

In line with the AFAMT, local associations PISFA and Aircargo Forwarders Association of the Philippines (AFPI) have integrated into one group, the Philippine Multimodal Transport and Logistics Association. The newly created association has already secured its Securities and Exchange Commission approval, and will soon be electing its first set of officers. Currently, its president is Erich Lingad, who was president of AFPI. – Roumina Pablo

Image courtesy of khunaspix at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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