Exporters seek govt’ subsidy on new shipping requirement

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    Added cost. Mandatory weighing of containers will be an additional burden on MSMEs which continue to struggle amid the pandemic.

    The Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport) is calling for the suspension of the proposed mandatory weighing of export containers pending resolution of issues.

    Philexport president Sergio R. Ortiz-Luis Jr. in a Jan. 26, 2021 position letter addressed to Hiyasmin Delos Santos, manager of the Port Operations and Services Department of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).

    Ortiz-Luis said the cost of mandatory weighing should not be shouldered by exporters and the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) which continue to struggle amid the pandemic.

    He suggested that the additional procedure “be fully subsidized by government” or “serve as additional complimentary service of the port operators.”

    Philexport also pushed for calibrated and certified weighing facilities to be designated in strategic areas, especially outside the ports, to help avoid congestion and delays that can negatively affect shipment schedules and export costs.

    “For MSMEs, a delay or cancellation of an order is enough to close their companies especially in this pandemic where we continue to struggle with many other issues,” said Ortiz-Luis.

    The policy could also make the traffic situation in Metro Manila worse, leading to delays and penalties for MSMEs and exporters, he continued.

    Implementation of the mandatory weighing of export containers could also affect production schedules, especially for fresh food and produce where timeliness is a major concern.

    The call is supported by the Export Development Council-Networking Committee on Transport and Logistics (EDC-NCTL), which sent its own position letter to Delos Santos on Feb. 2, 2021.

    Philexport  and EDC said they back the mandatory weighing of export containers as it is consistent with the principles of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea-Verified Gross Mass requirement.