Chiz tells DTI,
PPA: Spike in arrastre fees to hurt economic recovery
August 13, 2021
SORSOGON CITY –
Sorsogon Gov. Chiz Escudero has called on concerned government
agencies to look into the current fees and charges imposed on
various cargo shipments which sharp increases amid a global health
crisis could hurt efforts to help the country rebound from the
pandemic-induced economic downturn.
The veteran legislator has
learned that arrastre fees in most major ports under the Philippine
Ports Authority (PPA) went up by as much as 200 percent, an increase
that may ultimately impact the growth of the Philippines which
recently has gone out of recession as the economy grew by 11.8
percent in second quarter this year.
“Arrastre fees in most
major ports went up by 200 percent. For example, for every bag of
cement, arrastre fees went up from P5 to P21 per bag,” the former
senator posted on his Twitter account @saychiz.
“I hope the DTI
(Department of Trade and Industry), the PPA and the DOTR (Department
of Transportation) will look into this as it inordinately raises the
cost of construction and doing business and DURING A PANDEMIC at
that!” he added.
Arrastre is defined by the
PPA as a person or entity that performs portside cargo handling
operations, such as the receiving, handling, custody, security and
delivery of cargo passing over piers, quays or wharves, transit
sheds/warehouses and open storages within the jurisdictional area of
responsibility of the authorized contractor or operator.
The PPA has continuously
implemented, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, several
memorandum circulars adjusting cargo tariff rates and handling fees
in various ports nationwide under its jurisdiction such as the
Manila North Harbor Port, Inc., Manila South Harbor, Inc. and the
Manila International Container Terminal, despite industry-wide
opposition of international shipping lines who are likewise battling
the effects of the economic slowdown due to the pandemic.
In a position paper
submitted by the Association of International Shipping Lines to PPA
last year, industry leaders had warned that any increase in handling
fees would not only hurt cargo handlers and operators, but more
importantly small enterprises and consumers.
At the North Harbor alone,
the PPA, through its Memorandum Circular 04-2017, has been
implementing the 24-percent cargo handling rate increase since July
And this year, the ports
authority, through two separate administrative orders, has started
imposing empty container handling fees for foreign empty containers
and storage fees for out-of-gauge containers, or cargoes that exceed
the standard dimension of containers.