Surge in goods’ costs seen in port fee hike
The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) was asked to put on hold a petition for a 37.45-percent increase in port fees at the country’s lone domestic cargo handling port, Manila North Harbor, saying consultations are needed first.
“Consumers will ultimately be burdened by this planned tariff hike because traders will just pass on the added costs to the public,” a statement issued by United Filipino Consumers and Commuters head Robert Javellana Jr. said, warning of a spike in prices of basic commodities if such adjustment is implemented.
Various port stakeholders earlier slammed the petition, saying it was unjustified.
The Philippine Inter-Island Shipping Association rejected the claim of the port operator, Manila North Harbor Port Inc. (MNHPI), that it needs to increase cargo-handling fees to meet increasing costs of operations.
Export Development Council vice chair Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. also slammed the planned tariff increase.
“MNHPI is a monopoly in domestic trade. Port stakeholders have no choice but to transact business with them. Being a monopoly, it should even cut its cost rather than increase it,” said Ortiz-Luis, who is also the president of the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc.
In Lucena City, a farmer’s group warned of the increased shipping cost’s effect on prices of goods.
“Once the tariff hike is approved, the consequential hike in the prices of basic commodities that will pass through the ports will be passed on to consumers,” Jansept Geronimo, spokesperson of Kilusan para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo at Katarungang Panlipunan (Katarungan), said in a phone interview.
He said like common consumers, farmers are likely to suffer from an eventual price increase of basic goods that goes with increased costs of shipping. Tina G. Santos in Manila and Delfin Mallari Jr., Inquirer Southern Luzon