Business groups to lose P35 B under new PPA system

Business groups estimated of at least P35 billion in direct financial cost once the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) implements Administrative Order 04–2021, a new system that seeks to provide technology infrastructure, including container tracking program.

During a press conference, 17 business groups strongly urged to revoke the AO, which implements the Trusted Operator Program-Container Registry and Monitoring System and Empty Container Storage Shared Service Facility (TOP-CRMS/ECSSSF) and stop its implementation.

The TOP-CRMS consists of inter-related program components, namely, the TOP; the container identification and control program; the container tracking program; and the container availability and insurance program.

The TOP will provide conventional and mobility systems and technology infrastructure to capture, store, and process subscription and transactional activities and integrated services made available to trusted operators.

According to the groups, the direct financial cost alone from the additional insurance fees, transaction fees, and trucking fees required by the TOP-CRMS/ECSSSF will result in almost 50 percent increase in the cost of importing goods.

In real terms, the groups said, this will lead to a staggering additional import cost estimate of at least P35 billion annually.

This is because the TOP-CRMS/ECSSSF will require truckers and other service providers to register under one system, which would then nominate and assign them to individual transactions, they said.

As a result, the groups said, the AO demolishes the autonomy of of shipping lines and truckers to negotiate, manage and monitor their current and prospective vendors.

This feature in the proposed system creates a monopoly where multiple service providers are at the mercy of the winning bidder for TOP-CRMS, a serious concern under the Philippine Competition Act, business groups added.

According to businesses, the AO does not also comply with the requirements of the Constitution, laws and international best practices as the PPA did not conduct Regulatory Impact Assessment before the issuance of the order.

In addition, the group took issue with the container deposit which is being discussed in the halls of Congress under House Bill No. 04933. Under the bill, PPA should not preempt action being taken by the legislative branch of government and assume upon itself the role of the regulator of international shipping lines.

The 17 business groups calling for a stop to the PPA AO implementation include Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI),

Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (FFCCCI), Philippine Exporters Confederation (PHILEXPORT), Supply Chain Management Association of the Philippines (SCMAP), Philippine Association of Meat Processors, Inc. (PAMPI), Philippine Multimodal Transport and Logistics Association, Inc. (PMTLAI), Alliance of Concerned Truck Owners and Organizations (ACTOO), Alliance of Container Yard Operators of the Philippines (AYCOP), Association of International Shipping Lines, Inc. (AISL), Association of Off-Dock CFS Operators of the Philippines, Inc. (ACOP), Customs Brokers Federation of the Philippines (CBFP), Pasig Port Users United, Philippine Liner Shipping Association (PLSA), Philippine Ship Agents Association (PSAA), Port Users Confederation of the Philippines, Inc. (PUCP), Practicing Customs Brokers Association of the Philippines (PCBAPI), and United Portusers Confederation of the Philippines, Inc. (UPC).