MARINA orders reduced shipping rates for agri, food products

MARINA orders reduced shipping rates for agri, food products

(Photo courtesy of Manila International Container Port)

MANILA – As a means to ensure food supply amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) has ordered all domestic shipping lines to provide discounted cargo space to agricultural and food products.

In a statement on Tuesday, MARINA said domestic ships that provide cargo services are required to allocate 12 percent of their cargo space to agricultural and food products at a 40-percent discount from their published rate.

“They should be purely agricultural and food products shipped in whatever manner or form such as roll-on/roll-off (RORO) and conventional cargoes,” the MARINA said.

In a message, Luisito “Lui” delos Santos, officer-in-charge at MARINA’s Management Information Systems Service, said the policy applies to cargo ships as well as ships that provide transportation to both passengers and cargo, but not to “purely passenger ships and fast craft”.

MARINA said the discounted cargo space can be availed at a “first come, first served” basis, and ship operators are free to offer a discount higher than 40 percent.

If the allocated space is not used up twelve hours before the closing time of a voyage, it said the shipowner or operator may offer the remaining available space to other shippers for other types of cargo.

For vessels that will go through multiple ports or on inter port operations, it said they can be considered compliant with the requirement if they offer the discounted cargo space at either their point of origin or subsequent port of call.

It said ship operators are also allowed to offer pre-payment or hard blocking (advanced booking) for the discounted cargo space.

These guidelines are part of the MARINA Memorandum Circular DS-2020-01 that was approved by its Board and signed by MARINA chief Robert Empedrad on July 23.

The memorandum was made in compliance with the Department of Transportation Order 2020-007 directing all domestic shipping lines to provide cargo space for agricultural and food products with preferential rates. (PNA)

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