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Senate probe into 'excessive' port fees due to PPA orders sought

Senator Risa Hontiveros is seeking a Senate investigation into the Philippine Ports Authority's administrative orders that she said have led to an "excessive" rise in port fees.

"Increased shipping and logistics costs, insofar as they are passed on to the general public could affect the prices of goods going through these ports," Hontiveros said in proposed Senate Resolution 484.

In the measure, the lawmaker mentioned several administrative orders pertaining to the grant of port terminal management contracts to bidders with highest concession price; implementation of a "Central Ticketing System"; increase in the garbage collection fees; and creation of a mechanism for registration and monitoring of containers entering and existing ports.

Hontiveros cited the statement from Philippine Coastwise Shipping Association (PCSA), which indicated that the administrative orders have led to an increase of port charges within the Philippines by as much as 2,000%, thus increasing domestic logistics costs to the detriment of the public.

The resolution also mentioned that the PCSA has requested the Department of Transportation to review the award of port terminal management contracts, resulting in the alleged increase of port charges in key ports such as those in the cities of Ozamiz, Ormoc, Zamboanga, Tagbilaran, Surigao, Tacloban, Legazpi, Calapan, and in the towns of Nasipit and Matnog.

Further, Hontiveros echoed the fear of various industry groups and trade associations that the direct costs associated with the Trusted Operated Program-Container Registry Monitoring System (TOP-CRMS) and the Empty Container Shared Service Facility (ECSSSF), including additional insurance, transaction, and trucking fees, will result in an almost 50% increase in the cost of importing goods.

"Now therefore, be it resolved as it is hereby resolved to call for an inquiry in aid of legislation into increased logistics costs in the Philippines caused by rising port fees and charges," the resolution read.

GMA News Online has already reached out to PPA for its comment, but it has yet to respond as of posting time. —Hana Bordey/KBK, GMA Integrated News