MANILA, JUNE 19, 2007
(STAR) By Des Ferriols - A study conducted by the World Bank revealed that Philippine export costs are highest among selected Asian countries and ports authorities point their fingers at foreign shipping lines, saying that their charges account for the bulk of total shipment costs.

The World Bank study looked into the total cost to export from the Philippines compared with its main competitors including China, Thailand and even Singapore, the biggest and most modern ports facility in the region.

Documents from the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) showed that a World Bank report turned up significant differences in the cost to export from specific ports in the region, with the highest ports and terminal handling costs coming up most expensive in the Philippines.

Documents showed that the total cost to export per 20-foot container among selected Asian countries is highest in the Philippines at $1,336, followed by $848 per container in Thailand, $382 per container in Singapore and $335 per container in China.

According to the paper, ports and terminal handling costs account for 75 percent of the total cost to export from the Philippines, amounting to $994 per 20-foot container.

Out of the total ports and terminal handling costs, the World Bank report said domestic transshipment costs account for the bulk, costing $500 per 20-foot container, followed by port charges of $274, cargo handling (arrastre) costs amounting to $175 and terminal handling charges amounting to $45 per container.

According to the document, however, PPA authorities indicated that port and terminal handling charges are not “totally attributable to the charges imposed by the terminal operator and the PPA.”

Out of the $994 per container, the PPA said only 5.16 percent for export and 6.71 percent for import are attributable to the PPA.

The bulk of the costs, according to the PPA, are actually collected by foreign shipping lines that impose terminal handling charges and other additional charges like container deposit fee, container washing, detention fee, demurrage, chassis rental, container insurance and others.

Out of the total cost to export containerized cargo, documents revealed that port and terminal fees accounted for $751.21 per container.

Of this amount, foreign shipping lines collect a total of $689, representing charges for domestic transshipment (Cebu/Manila), bill of lading, terminal handling charge, chassis rental, fuel adjustment factor and telex release.

The PPA is expected to convene the Special Review Body and allow foreign shipping lines to “explain and justify” their charges following complaints from the Port Users Confederation over charges collected by agents of foreign shipping lines.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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