PPA reinforces implementation of pilotage fees, service at Manila terminals

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  • The Philippine Ports Authority is reinforcing implementation of pilotage services and fees at the Manila South Harbor and Manila International Container Terminal
  • PPA reiterated provisions of various policies on pilots and pilotage, including pilots’ boarding station and rates for regular and special services
  • This is to ensure efficient rendering of pilotage services and accurate application of pilotage fees at MSH and MICT

The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) is reinforcing implementation of pilotage services and fees at the Manila South Harbor (MSH) and Manila International Container Terminal (MICT).

The order contained in PPA Port Management Office (PMO)-NCR South Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 01-2024 is aimed at ensuring efficient rendering of services and accurate application of fees.

The memo, dated January 15, reiterates provisions of PPA MC No. 26-89, Administrative Order (AO) No. 04-2003, Memorandum Order (MO) No. 22-2013, and MC 17-2023.

PMO-NCR South has jurisdiction over MSH, MICT, and the terminal management office of Pasig River.

PPA MC No. 26-89 establishes pilots’ boarding stations nationwide; AO 04-2003 provides guidelines on pilotage services to be rendered in all ports and their corresponding fees; MO 22-2013 provides rationalized pilotage rates for foreign vessels and charges for other vessels; and MC 17-2013 relocates the anchorage grounds at MSH.

PMO-NCR South’s reinforcement of various policies on pilotage comes as PPA proposes to modernize its policy on harbor pilots and pilotage services through amendments to the outdated PPA AO No. 03-85 issued almost 39 years ago in March 1985.

READ: PPA proposes update of 38-year-old harbor pilot policy

PPA Marine Services Division manager Rey Del Moro, Jr., during the public hearing on the proposed AO on November 23, 2023, said the PPA Board decided to review and amend regulations governing pilotage. The goal is to address stakeholder concerns and align with new laws, including the Amended Public Service Act and Philippine Competition Act.

Compulsory pilotage is required for entering harbors, anchoring, navigating rivers or straits, docking, undocking, and shifting between berths in government or private ports under PPA’s jurisdiction.

MC 01-2024 reiterates the pilots’ boarding station as designated under MC No. 26-89 for MICT and MC 17-2023 for MSH that should serve as the meeting and boarding point of the harbor pilot for vessels entering the port requiring pilotage service and the point of unboarding for departing vessels.

In addition, MC 01-2024 reiterates AO 04-2003, which states that regular pilotage services are those required to be performed by harbor pilots to maneuver vessels to/from the ports. Any additional services requested by the master of the vessel or the ship’s agent should be considered as special pilotage services.

The rates for regular and special pilotage services are prescribed in MO 22-2013.

MC 01-2024 restates that any vessel which employs pilotage services of a harbor pilot should pay the pilotage fees prescribed under MO 22-2013, the subsequent amendments, and should comply with conditions set forth in those orders.

The circular noted no other charges will be charged to shipping lines, except for those fees which were already resolved by the concerned parties and concurred by PPA. In this regard, only PPA-prescribed format, which contains all the regular and special pilotage services as authorized under AO 04-2003 should be honored. This should be signed by the harbor pilot on duty prior to the submission to shipping lines for payment.

MC 01-2024 pointed out that the required pilotage services and prescribed number of moves per pilotage district must also be strictly adhered to and erring pilots will be meted penalties pursuant to AO 03-85 and other regulations that may be issued thereafter.

Further, violation of any provisions of MC 01-2024 and other relevant PPA issuances will subject the pilot/pilotage association to penalties under AO 03-85 and/or suspension/cancellation of the pilot’s appointment. Likewise, violations by the shipping companies and its agents are subject to appropriate sanctions provided under Presidential Decree No. 857, or the revised charter of PPA, and other pertinent regulations of PPA. – Roumina Pablo