THC THE Philippine Shippers’ Bureau (PSB) is seeking a dialogue with international shipping lines to discuss a cut in the terminal handling charge (THC). The bureau has already written the Association of International Shipping Lines for such a meeting. "As part of our effort to reduce THC, we want to continue to seek for an open dialogue with the carriers directly or through a government intervention on the issue," PSB chief Atty. Pedro Vicente Mendoza in an earlier discussion said. The PSB said the continuous enforcement of the THC makes the Philippines uncompetitive. The THC is unilaterally imposed by international shipping lines on both export and import containerized cargoes purportedly to recover costs incurred at container terminals. Shippers claim the THC is a double charge, however. Based on PSB records, the THC has cost Philippine shippers approximately $130 to $200 million per year. The THC has increased at an annual average rate of 8% (as imposed by the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement), 10%-12% (Far Eastern Freight Conference) and 24% (Intra-Asia Discussion Agreement), the latest of which was in May 2004 at 5% with no formal notice to shippers. THC accounts for 30%-50% of the shipping cost of RP-ASEAN and East Asian container trade, the PSB said. Recently, the Indonesian government cut THC by some 20%.