The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) has issued rules on the implementation of an online application procedure that will support an integrated vessel booking and payment system.
The Centralized Ticketing System (CTS), under PPA Administrative Order (AO) No. 12-2019, is an online application scheme integrating on a single platform the booking and payment process for ship and passenger terminals. It will apply to all domestic roll-on-roll-off (Ro-Ro)/passenger ships calling ports under PPA jurisdiction.
CTS is a “single window” concept for real-time online processing of all transactions by government, shipping companies, port terminal operators, passenger terminal building (PTB) operators, and the general public.
The system seeks to provide convenience to port users, get rid of fixers and scalpers, provide online services and attain overall ease of doing business, and improve port processes for maritime safety and security.
PPA Port Operations and Services Department manager Lilian Javier, in a presentation last August, said CTS, then called Online Ticketing System, would comply with the International Maritime Organization’s mandatory requirement for the electronic exchange of information on cargo, crew, and passengers as part of the revised Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL). The FAL aims to harmonize procedures for a ship’s arrival and stay at, and departure from, the port.
In addition, CTS complies with Republic Act No. 11032, or the Ease of Doing Business Act, in which the government “wishes to establish a unified system for the electronic exchange of information for all port-related transport modes.”
Javier noted that some shipping lines already offer online booking with bus booking component, while others have no available online booking platform yet.
Under the current process, passengers, usually carrying heavy luggage, traditionally have to wait in line to book their tickets without assurance of accommodation. Once tickets are booked, they must line up again to pay the PTB fees and secure pre-inspection before they can have access to the PTB and later board the vessel.
AO 12-2019, which takes effect on December 24, is applicable to domestic Ro-Ro/passenger ships calling at ports under the jurisdiction of PPA and their riding passengers.
Under AO 12-2019, PPA will be responsible for the system software, office space and hardware to be used in the booking/payment processes at PPA ports.
Shipping lines, on the other hand, will be responsible for other office spaces and equipment and other facilities not provided for by PPA.
Subject to terms and conditions, including service costs, agreed with its designated service provider, PPA will be responsible for running and implementing the CTS, including collecting the integrated shipping fare, PTB fee, and the added administrative fee.
PPA will also be responsible for remitting to shipping lines, PTB operators, and the designated service provider their share of the integrated fees/fares.
Meanwhile, shipping lines will take charge of the refund, rebooking, and actions as required in Maritime Industry Authority Circular No. 2018-07, which contains the rights of passengers and obligations of domestic operators in cases of cancelled, delayed, or unfinished/uncompleted voyages. Shipping line representatives are expected to be at the ports to handle such events or consequences.
Prior to full implementation of CTS, PPA will issue the guidelines and conduct a pilot test at selected PPA ports with the participation of selected shipping lines, while its designated service provider will conduct an orientation on the system.
AO 12-2019 further states that “if not part of CTS, shipping lines will not be allowed to berth for purposes of loading passengers.” – Roumina Pablo