Home » Exclusives, Features, Maritime, Ports/Terminals » New PISA chair unveils plans for a strong domestic shipping sector

At the recent general membership meeting of the Philippine Inter-island Shipping Association were (L to R) former chairman Roberto Umali, current PISA chairman Christopher Pastrana, and Development Bank of the Philippines first vice president, Financing Infrastructure Environment-Logistics Development Department Paul Lazaro.

The Philippine Inter-island Shipping Association (PISA) will push for the enactment of a Maritime Code and a long-term master plan that will guide the domestic shipping industry in addressing issues and achieving efficiency and competitiveness.

Newly elected PISA chairman Christopher Pastrana, in an interview with PortCalls on the sidelines of the organization’s general membership meeting on December 4, said the umbrella organization will continue working with both the executive and legislative branches of government to push for a Maritime Code and a roadmap “that will provide stability for our maritime industry regardless of leadership.”

Pastrana said PISA will be working closely with industry “supporters and friends from both Senate and Congress (Lower House)” to enact a Maritime Code so as to provide industry “a clear path” for addressing issues and concerns, rather than the current system where different sectors within the industry do advocacy work separately.

Aside from pushing for a maritime law, PISA is also working with the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) to craft the Maritime Industry Development Plan, a 10-year roadmap to make the Philippines a major maritime nation and the maritime industry a key contributor to inclusive growth and socioeconomic development. PISA has already submitted its proposed short- and long-term plans and programs that Marina can include in the plan to improve and strengthen domestic shipping.

In line with this, Pastrana said that as chairman of PISA, his priority is to do strategic planning engaging all members in coming up with a group vision for the next 10 years.

Pastrana said PISA will also work with the Department of Transportation in implementing safety rules and regulations, which is one of the organization’s key priority areas.

He said PISA also intends to reach out to other stakeholders, especially in the Visayas and Mindanao, “because they play a vital role in linking the country.”

Pastrana highlighted the importance of cooperation betweenthe government and the private sector for a more efficient and competitive shipping industry.

He said the high cost of shipping and the longer travel time by sea are due to different causes, which should be “approached as a whole.”

“We have to have seamless connectivity with our islands with minimal transaction costs so that we can be more efficient and bring down the cost of goods,” Pastrana said. He added that the country must improve its intermodal networks, which include not just ships and ports but roads and air travel as well.

He noted that other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) neighbors are already crafting long-term roadmaps for their transportation networks, encompassing all transport modes.

Pastrana said bringing down the cost of moving goods by sea and being a competitive domestic shipping industry is a priority for PISA following government moves to liberalize the industry.

President Rodrigo Duterte recently issued a memorandum order instructing the National Economic and Development Authority and its member agencies to exert utmost effort to lift or ease restrictions in certain investment areas that have limited foreign participation, including public services, which includes shipping. Currently, a bill has already been approved in the Lower House that defines public utility and effectively opens up domestic shipping to 100% foreign ownership by not including all kinds of transportation in the definition of public utility. No counterpart bill in the Senate has yet been filed.

Pastrana said domestic shipping companies must make themselves competitive in the event that foreign restrictions are indeed eased or lifted, allowing the influx of foreign companies.

He also disclosed plans for the group to collaborate with other international organizations, especially those within ASEAN, on best practices in domestic shipping.

Another program is to empower and engage women in the maritime industry, including letting the spouses of PISA members do advocacy work for the industry.

Pastrana, who is chairman of Archipelago Philippine Ferries Corporation, was elected last November to replace Roberto Umali, who has retired from domestic liner Lorenzo Shipping Corporation. Under PISA’s by-laws, a director and officer must represent a domestic shipping company. Pastrana will be serving Umali’s remaining term together with the current board of directors and officers. – Text and photo by Roumina Pablo

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

two × 3 =

Please support the site
By clicking any of these buttons you help our site to get better
Social PopUP by SumoMe
Copy Protected by Chetan's WP-Copyprotect.