The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) is set to review its operations to comply with the marching order of Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista to reduce shipping and travel costs nationwide.
Last week, Bautista directed the PPA to “make sure to further reduce shipping and travel costs nationwide and maintain the high quality of service in all ports.”
In response to the Transportation chief’s directive, PPA officer-charge-General Manager Manuel Boholano said, “Our first order of business is to comply with the directive of the DOTr to lower travel and shipping costs.”
“This is a challenge that we gladly take, so let us start looking into this directive,” said Boholano in a statement.
The Ports agency said among the areas being considered for review are statutory and regulatory costs being levied by the PPA as well as indirect costs related to the efficiency and productivity of the ports.
The PPA added that it is also set to make representations with other maritime government agencies, shipping line operators, and other port stakeholders to discuss the efficient utilization of facilities particularly in high-volume ports like the ports in Manila, Batangas, Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo, among others, which are considered gateway ports.
The agency said it is accelerating the digitalization of its processes such as the Internet-based Port Operations and Receipting for Terminals System, the e-Permit Management System, the Transport Accreditation, Permits and Pass for Ports, and interconnecting with other government agencies to facilitate the movement of cargoes and turnaround time of vessels faster delivery of raw materials for shippers and businesses resulting in lower overheads and quicker travel time for regular passengers and tourists.
The agency, likewise, said it will continue its infrastructure modernization and improvement to further provide shippers, regular sea-going public, and tourists comfort and convenience while inside the ports.
Any possible reduction in port-related costs shall be on top of the existing policies being implemented like the exemptions of students, senior citizens, differently-abled Persons, uniformed personnel, and Medal of Valor Awardees and their first-degree kin in the payment of Passenger Terminal Fees in all PPA-controlled ports, it said.
The agency said it is recovering from the negative effects of the global pandemic as passage volume posted an increase of 130% to 20.87 million passengers handled from January to May 2022 period from 9.07 million passengers handled in the first five months of 2021.
Containerized cargo traffic, on the other hand, also increased by 3.84% to 3.12 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) from 3.00 million TEUs in the same period a year earlier.
Meanwhile, shipcalls - the number of vessels that arrive at ports - went up by 13.4% during the period compared to the 153,007 shipcalls posted in 2021, the PPA said.
However, the agency said cargo volume remains flat at 101.74 million metric tons. —NB, GMA News