THE Philippine Liner Shipping Association (PLSA) wants the provision on concession fees for ancillary services deleted under the North Harbor contract, claiming it is detrimental to both shipping lines and the public.
PLSA said the concession fees, which under the North Harbor contract may be collected by new port operator Manila North Harbour Port, Inc (MNHPI) from third-party service providers, will be an unearned increment for MNHPI.
The North Harbor contract pegs the concession fee to not more than 5% of the revenue or rate that the service provider will charge port users, including shipping lines. The concession fee rate is subject to approval by the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).
In a letter addressed to Transportation and Communications Secretary Leandro Mendoza, PLSA president Daniel Lacson, Jr said the concession fee on ancillary services such as bunkering will “have an impact on shipping operating cost and subsequently on freight and passenger fares.”
He added, “The biggest cost factor of shipping lines is the fuel cost and most if not all our members refuel at the North Harbor in order to avail of the lower cost of fuel in Manila compared to other ports.
“Our service providers will pass this (concession fee) on to the shipping lines so that the increase in operating cost will consume any savings that the privatization and modernization will accord the shipping companies on account of the reduced tariff and improved efficiencies at the port.”
Lacson pointed out that shipping lines should be given a free hand to choose their own service providers for bunkering and other needs.
PLSA claimed hundreds of millions of pesos a year will be collected in bunkering fees alone which service providers will just pass on to shipping lines. Shipping lines will then pass on the cost to cargo owners. In the end, the public will be charged by cargo owners.
Most major ports – whether private or public – do not charge concession fees on ancillary services. Service providers are instead billed an annual fee of P2,000 for a permit to operate.
MNHPI will take over the North Harbor on February 15 or 45 days from the original date of January 1, 2010.
MNHPI is also awaiting delivery of additional cargo-handling equipment, a PPA requirement prior to takeover.