PPA starts review of operations to reduce shipping, travel costs

12 JULY 2022, MANILA—The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) is set to start reviewing its operations in compliance with the directive of Transportation Secretary Jaime J. Bautista to reduce logistics and travel costs.

In his anniversary message delivered during the 48th Founding Anniversary of the PPA on Monday, PPA Officer in Charge-General Manager Manuel A. Boholano said he already reported the initiative to Sec. Bautista in their meeting also held yesterday.

“Our first order of business is to comply with the directive of the DOTr to lower travel and shipping costs,” Boholano said in his message.

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.

PPA 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.

PPA is also accelerating the digitalization of its processes like 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.

PPA is likewise bent to continue with 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. Since its first application prior to the pandemic, the free terminal fee is equivalent to a benefit of close to a P7-million monthly average.

To date, the PPA continues to climb out of 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 only 9.07 million passengers handled in the first 5 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 only 3.00 million TEUs in the same period a year earlier.

Shipcalls, on the other hand, also went up 13.4% for the period compared to the 153,007 shipcalls posted in 2021.

Total cargo volume, however, remains flat at 101.74 million metric tons.

“This is a challenge that we gladly take, so let us start looking into this directive,” Boholano stressed.