MARINA sets 2024 priorities, led by digitalization

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MARINA sets 2024 priorities
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
  • Digitalization of processes, enhancing maritime safety, and passage of relevant bills in Congress are top priorities of Maritime Industry Authority administrator Sonia Malaluan
  • Part of MARINA’s legislative agenda are the passage of the Comprehensive Shipbuilding and Ship Repair Development Bill, and a bill to improve the country’s ship registry
  • MARINA is also working on its organizational capacity and rationalization of personnel

The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) has identified priorities for 2024, with digitalization of processes, enhancing maritime safety, and passage of relevant bills in Congress taking centerstage.

The priorities follow the 10-point agenda set by MARINA administrator Sonia Malaluan, who was appointed agency head in December 2023.

Of that agenda, Malaluan, in an email to PortCalls, said digitalization of all MARINA processes to streamline the delivery of frontline services is a high priority.

MARINA last year said it was working with partners on three projects that will digitize and automate the agency’s certification system, route rationalization of the domestic shipping industry, and the monitoring and analysis of the industry’s energy consumption and emissions.

READ: MARINA introduces 3 digital projects

The MARINA Blockchain-Enabled Automated Certification System (MARINA BEST) is an enterprise web application for electronically processing applications with the maritime agency. MARINA BEST aims to enhance the maritime agency’s online services, paving the way for contactless transactions from application to release of certificates, licenses, letter approvals, and documents.

It uses blockchain technology to keep data secured from unauthorized changes.

The Maritime Transportation Information System (MARIS) is a project that aims to address the lack of data-oriented framework to understand and forecast maritime traffic in the Philippines. Currently, there is no existing system in any regulatory government agency that analyzes the needed number of routes and their respective capacities.

MARINA BEST and MARIS are slated for launch later this year.

Lastly, the Maritime Energy Demand Information and Analysis Software (MEDIANS) is a system that will collect environmental parameters and quickly estimate the energy consumption and GHG emissions of the operating fleet based on transportation activity.

Another high priority is the enhancement of maritime safety to reduce the number of maritime incidents/accidents. Malaluan noted MARINA recorded an increase in the number of maritime incidents/accidents in the country in 2023 compared to 2022.

The agency will study how it can further assist maritime stakeholders in equipping their ships with modern technology, and improve their infrastructure.

Another plan is to expedite the passage of various bills, including the passage of the Comprehensive Shipbuilding and Ship Repair Development Bill, which will contribute to the modernization of shipyards in the country. There is also a need for legislation to improve ship registry in the country.

Malaluan earlier said they will push for the amendment of laws in order to provide tax incentives, including exemption on fuel tax, to the domestic shipping industry.

These include the revision or amendment of Republic Act (RA) No. 9295, or the Domestic Shipping Development Act of 2004, and RA 10968, or the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law.

MARINA also seeks to push national legislation of two International Maritime Organization Conventions, and aims to ratify various IMO Conventions.

Another plan revolves around the agency’s organizational capacity, adding personnel and regional and extension offices nationwide, and the corresponding operational budget for greater efficiency.

Malaluan promised a rationalization of personnel, and not a revamp, in relation to the strategic changes in the agency. This includes finding the “best fit and re-aligning strengths and weaknesses of MARINA officials,” she said.

An office order has also been issued strictly implementing a “no gift policy”, she added.

In addition, MARINA will conduct regular management audits of its service units and regional offices to ensure uniform and consistent compliance to existing rules and regulations, and to identify areas where discretion was applied by any MARINA official.

Meritocracy and strict adherence to the promotion and selection procedures and guidelines for all levels of personnel in MARINA will also be implemented, Malaluan said. – Roumina Pablo