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No freight rate increase for now, local carriers say

LOCAL shipping lines have decided to hold off any increase in freight rates to cushion the impact on shippers of an impending hike in trucking rates next month.

The Integrated North Harbor Truckers Association, WGA Truckers Association, and Allied Trucking Group Philippines — collectively known as North Harbor Trucking Association — are jacking up their rates by 16% starting February 14, citing as reason the rise in pump prices and spare parts. When implemented, the rate to move a standard 20-footer within a 40-km radius from Manila will be P5,917.77 from P5,100.

An official of the Philippine Liners and Shippers Association (PLSA) said if there is any adjustment it would be related to the bunker surcharge to cover rising fuel costs.

He added this is better because PLSA members can just easily roll back the surcharge if fuel prices ease.

“We’ll have the trucking rates implemented first. Let us see what will happen from there,” the source said. “But as of the moment, we will continue to maintain our regular freight rates in order not to burden shippers too much,” the source said.

“Fuel cost has been one of the significant charges in our operational cost, but we cannot just increase (freight) rates because of the social impact,” he explained

Fuel costs currently eat up 30-35% of operational costs from 25% two years ago.

PLSA members twice increased last year the bunker surcharge — by 12.62% in September and by 14.29% in December. Freight rates, on the other hand, have not moved in months despite the spiraling fuel cost.


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