THE Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has taken significant steps to achieve faster, more economical and more efficient maritime transportation of goods and resources in the Philippines.
Transport Secretary Leandro Mendoza, in a speech during the induction of the new set of officers of the Association of International Shipping Lines (AISL), said the need to improve the country’s shipping industry is imperative as the shipping business plays a critical role in the socio-economic status of our country. Seaborne trade, both local and international, account for almost 90% of the country’s trade.
He added that fast-breaking developments in international trade have impacted greatly on the maritime sector. Because of the growing needs of containerized trade, the trend has been toward bigger ships against more frequent sailings.
“In order to face these rapid developments in the maritime transport sector, the DOTC, through the Philippine Ports Authority and Maritime Industry Authority, has undertaken vigorous steps toward providing adequate infrastructure and policy support to make maritime transport more efficient and cost-effective in conveying services, goods and resources across the Philippine and the world,” Mendoza told ship operators and other stakeholders during the AISL induction.
Among the steps he mentioned are the proposal to the Office of the President to issue an executive order on the formulation of an Omnibus Merchant Shipping Legislation, the continued development of the transport network connecting major highways with the roll on-roll off (ro-ro) maritime system, and developing maritime basins and major rivers such as the recently launched Pasig River Ferry Service.
Also included are the facilitation of requirements of shipyard expansion and ensuring availability of steel at a competitive price; completion of the Strong Republic Nautical Highway and the ro-ro system; enhancement of value-added services in transport, shipping and logistics through consolidation centers, warehousing and inventory management, vendor hubs/supplier parks, customs and trade advisory services, transport management, kitting, packaging and bundling; and the availability of enough power supply to ports to accommodate the increase in passenger and cargo.
Better trade facilitation
The DOTC is also pursuing the enhancement of trade facilitation programs such as the single-window concept for import and export transactions and single transport document for multimodal transport; the granting of more incentives to overseas shipping enterprises under Republic Act 9301; and the development of a national ports system that will respond to the faster vessel turnaround and for suitable facilities to berth larger vessels, taking into consideration the requirements of new shipping technologies.
“The government remains optimistic of substantially achieving its targets considering the encouraging and favorable macroeconomic indicators. The economic fundamentals are up in the immediate term and government hopes to sustain this momentum,” Mendoza said.