June 19, 2024

The Insider News

Direct from the source

Marcos orders to standardize PH maritime practices to align with global standards

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. directed on Wednesday the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) to carry out the standardization of the Philippine maritime industry to make it at par with global standards.

In a briefing in Malacanang by Marina Malaluan on the proposed Maritime Industry Development Plan 2028 (MIDP 2028), President said as a first step towards implementing reforms in the maritime industry is to standardize the operations in the industry to make it at par with international standards.

In her presentation to the President, Malaluan had sought the approval of the President of the updated MIDP 2028 which aims to build a strong and reliable Philippine Merchant Fleet, addressing the sea requirements of the country in support of the national development agenda.

Among its core programs are the modernization and expansion of the Philippine domestic shipping, promotion and expansion of the Philippine overseas shipping, modernization of the Philippine shipbuilding and ship repair industry and promotion of highly skilled Filipino and competitive maritime workforce.

The President, however, observed that many of the rules and operations in the maritime industry are obsolete because of lack of a unified system governing the industry. It is therefore imperative, he said, to first provide a standardized system in accordance with international systems before the proposed programs could be implemented.

“These are all promotion, modernization but let us standardize first our systems and at the same time we undertake this like promotion of highly skilled Filipino maritime workforce. Yung ship building and ship repair, we haven’t done much to promote that. The rest are for further development. So let’s standardize our practices so that we will be the same with our international counterparts. We have to fix our house first. Because we have to compete and in order to do that we should have an even playing field and then we should gain an advantage,” he said.

The President also looked into the high cost of shipping in the country compared to other countries as it is usually cheaper to ship cargos to the Philippines from abroad like Hong Kong than it is locally like Manila to General Santos City.

According to Marina, among the reasons why domestic shipping is relatively expensive compared to others include vessel size, the imposition of excise tax on fuel and vessel quality.

The agency said vessels with international routes are huge and thus enjoy economies of scale that reduces travel cost and fares.

In terms of excise tax, any ship that travels internationally is not subject to excise tax on their fuel. In the Philippines, domestic shipping carry the burden of additional tax on fuel.

One of the issues is vessel quality, with the Philippines having old fleets making them inefficient, Marina said, adding there is also lack of interest from investors to put money in the local shipping industry.

The agency stressed the need to change the current maritime policy saying that the government still allows 20-year old passenger ships to operate, and 25-year old vessels to haul freight.

President Marcos said the problems and challenges cited by Marina necessitate the standardization of operations and practices in the maritime industry so that proper programs are put in place.

“Let’s standardize and also prioritize in terms of the immediacy of some of these,” the President told the Marina official.

Marina was created in June 1974 to integrate the development, promotion and regulation of the Philippine maritime industry.

Among the agency’s primary goal is to lead a progressive maritime administration that ensures safety and security of life and property at sea, protection of marine environment and global competitiveness of Filipino maritime workforce