PPA’s decision to increase postage draws criticism; NEDA Regional Council Calls for Suspension of New Visayas Tariffs
The Philippine Ports Authority’s decision to raise rates on inter-island shipping and the subsequent rise in port charges continue to draw criticism from various quarters, fearing that this action could lead to a dramatic increase in prices consumer goods shipped by sea before landing in retail. electrical outlets.
The latest to challenge the tariff hikes has been the regional board of the National Economic Development Authority, which is calling for the suspension of new tariffs in the Visayas.
NEDA’s Regional Development Council VIII passed a resolution calling on the PPA to suspend the implementation of the new tariffs at the ports of Tacloban, Ormoc and other parts of the Eastern Visayas.
The request was backed by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry Tacloban-Leyte Inc., which wants extensive consultation with stakeholders affected by the increases.
The PCCI said that “local traders will find it difficult to hire shipping companies to transport their cargoes”.
The city of Tacloban Sangguniang Panglunsod earlier passed a resolution calling for a review of the new tariffs.
Fears have been raised that the rise in port charges could lead to higher prices for consumer goods in the region, which has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Typhoon Odette also caused severe damage to infrastructure in the region, compounding the problem of high prices.
The PCCI said local businesses had not been consulted on the PPA’s plan to impose higher tariffs under the agency’s port terminal management regulatory framework, which provides for uniform port tariffs across the board. national scale.
The new order did not take into account the vast differences in perceptions and revenues of the country’s ports run by the PPA.
Small ports in the regions would charge the same rates as larger ports, which would harm regional economies.
In the most extreme case, the 360% increase in port tariffs would drive up the prices of the most essential commodities such as rice, cement, sugar and animal feed.
The higher fees are then passed on to consumers, already reeling from the effects of the pandemic.
Besides Tacloban, the port of Zamboanga City has also requested the suspension of the tariff increase to 700%.
The Philippine Inter-Island Shipping Association also asked the House Transportation Committee to review the new rates, as rates appeared to be higher in areas that could least afford the new fees.
The organization said no public hearings had been held in the Visayas and Mindanao, adding that a regulatory impact assessment was needed “to determine the reasonableness” of the new tariffs.
The ports of Zamboanga, Tacloban and Puerto Princesa have already been auctioned, so the new operators have started collecting the significantly increased port tariffs.
GlobalPort, the company that won the tender to manage Tacloban port operations, said it was unable to change the PPA-approved tariffs. As a private company under contract with the PPA, GlobalPort said it was “bound by the terms and conditions” set by the authority.