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PH terminal operators push early cargo-handling rate hike

PHILIPPINE terminal operators International Container Terminal Services, Inc (ICTSI) and Asian Terminals, Inc (ATI) are pushing for implementation of higher vessel-related cargo-handling rates as early as next month.

ICTSI is proposing to increase vessel-related tariff by 21% and ATI by 19%.

ICTSI executive vice president Edgardo Abesamis said the company, which operates the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT), has had no “no cost recovery measure since 2008 and this vessel related cargo-handling rate increase is aimed at that.”

The increase in volume has not been enough to cover additional costs, Abesamis said at the sidelines of last week’s ceremonies for the US Megaports Initiative at the MICT.

“In principle, we think the shipping lines are amenable to such increase and we just only have to agree on a number or the percentage of increase,” he added.

Swelling operational expenses also compelled ATI to seek a hike at the South Harbor.

“Our cost such as fuel, labor, electricity, etc has been increasing in the past couple of years,” ATI executive vice president Ernst Schulze explained. “If such cost continues to go up it will affect our revenues and eventually our operations so we are asking PPA (Philippine Ports Authority) to allow us to impose the increase as early as this October.”

He added, “Volume at the South Harbor is on target but not enough to cover additional expenses.”

Last year, both ICTSI and ATI completed the 15% two-tranche rate increase approved by the PPA in 2008.

Earlier, a shipping line executive told PortCalls the rate hike was inopportune, citing the shipping industry’s dire straits due to overcapacity and depressed freight rates.

Exporters also echoed the same sentiment, saying a rate increase will dampen competitiveness of Philippine products overseas.


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