‘Lower logistics costs, Greater Transport Efficiency Needed’

April 24, 2020 News

More than a dozen business organizations and chambers on Thursday urged the government to reduce logistics costs and improve transport efficiency to help not only their sector, but also consumers while it is combating the coronavirus pandemic.

In a joint statement, the groups listed several measures that they want the government to implement to help address supply-chain challenges and sustain business operations amid disruptions caused by the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.

Groups that signed the statement include the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Management Association of the Philippines; Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc.; Supply Chain Management Association of the Philippines; Export Development Council; Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc.; Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation Inc.; and Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters Inc.

The American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce Philippines, Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines; European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines Inc.; and the Korean Chamber of Commerce Philippines also signed the statement.

They urged the government to impose a moratorium on detention fees, port congestion surcharges and other penalties slapped on shipments stuck at ports because of slow processing or clearance.

The statement came in the wake of reports of international shipping lines imposing port congestion surcharges of $1,400 per refeer container. This is on top of other charges and penalties imposed.

If implemented, the moratorium should be retroactively applied to all shipments affected, according to the groups.

They also called for the extension of the free storage period to 10 days from five, noting that shippers pay storage fees ranging from P962 to P1,443 a day to port terminal operators for 40’ dry containers and P192.50 an hour for reefers.

The groups also appealed to the government to adopt a “super green lane” process for the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, Clark Development Corp. and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority shipments; lift the truck and number-coding ban; improve the Bureau of Customs’ automation; use the Subic and Batangas ports as extension ports; and ensure that all shipping lines have enough container yard.

They also asked the government to rescind Letter of Instruction 1005-A s. 1980, which they said would reduce transport logistics costs, as it would remove the share of the Philippine Ports Authority from cargo handling revenues.

“While this recommendation admittedly will cause a reduction in PPA’s revenue, we have to put a stop to this policy of sharing from cargo handling revenues (10 to 20 percent), which unnecessarily increases logistics cost,” the groups said.

“The [damage] such a policy brings to the economy is definitely greater than whatever the government does with the revenue it generates,” they added.

Last, the groups seeks a regulatory impact assessment on Covid-19 related issuances, as some of these caused “unnecessary delays” in transporting goods.

By: Anna Leah E. Gonzales

Source: The Manila Times