The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, along with other business groups, strongly called for the immediate revocation of an order by the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) that threatens and is detrimental to transport and logistics industries and the economy.
In a joint manifesto signed by the PCCI, Philippine Exporters Confederation (Philexport), Supply Chain Management Association of the Philippines (SCMAP), The Alliance of Concerned Truck Owners and Organizations, Alliance of Container Yard Operators of The Philippines, Association of International Shipping Lines, Inc., Confederation of Truckers Association of The Philippines, Federation of Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc., United Port users Confederation of the Philippines, Inc., Customs Brokers Federation of the Philippines, Philippine Association of Meat Producers, Inc. Philippine Liner Shipping Association (PLSA), Philippine Multimodal Transport and Logistics Association, Inc. (PMTLA), Philippine Ships’ Agents Association (PSAA), the group also urged the Office of the President and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to look into PPA’s issuance of Administrative Order 04-2021 as it could negatively impact business and the country’s recovery.
The group assailed that PPA’s order was already outside its mandate and only duplicates the functions of the Bureau of Customs (BOC). Furthermore, it also said that PPA did not conduct consultations with the concerned stakeholders prior to the issuance of the policy, which clearly violates the Ease of Doing Business Act.
PCCI President George T. Barcelon said that PPA should rescind the order and invite all concerned stakeholders to a dialogue to address the issue.
“We are supposed to streamline our processes and not add burden by having redundant policies. How would we be able to attract investors and create ease of doing business if our policies are confusing,” Barcelon said.
The new policy allows PPA to implement the Trusted Operator Program – Container Registry Monitoring System (“TOP-CRMS”) and Empty Container Storage Shared Service Facility (“ECSSSF”), projects to track real-time movement of containers from the time of entry, discharge, ret, urn and storage, and re-export. A fee of P4,900, exclusive of 12% VAT per tagged container will be charged for TOP-CRMS, which is a considerable amount, especially for the micro, small, and medium enterprises.
However, this measure is also being implemented BOC through Administrative Order 08-2019, which institutionalized a container monitoring policy supplemented by the Electronic Tracking of Containerized Cargo (E-TRACC).
The group explained that not all containerized cargo that passes through international ports falls under the authority of PPA such as those administered by the Cebu Ports Authority, Cagayan Economic Zone Authority, Poro Point Management Corporation, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, PHIVIDEC Industrial Authority, and Regional Ports Management Authority.
Furthermore, the throughput of the Port of Manila (POM) and Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) is only 68% which means that at least 32% of the total container traffic in Philippine ports is outside the jurisdictional control of PPA. This effectively usurps the authority of other independent port authorities and debunks the claim in the general description of the project that 98% of all container traffic goes through POM and MICT.
Barcelon explained consumers and businesses will ultimately bear the brunt of additional logistics costs due to the ad-hoc charges from using the system, and inefficiency in cargo flows as there would be additional time and truck trips to tag and untag the tracking device on the containers.
The PPA is reportedly set to spend P980 Million to implement TOP-CRMS and ECSSSF.