Arrastre Fees Rise In January

Importers and exporters have started paying higher arrastre fees on international containerized and non-containerized cargoes at the Manila International Container Terminal (MICT) and the South Harbor last month.

This marks the full implementation of the new rates which is about seven percent higher starting January 16 this year. This completes the 15 percent increase granted by the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) in cargo tariffs in 2012. The first tranche of eight percent hike was implemented in July last year.

For importers, the total arrastre charge inclusive of value added tax (VAT) is now R4,174.24 for a 20-foot container, up R254.24 from R3,920 last year. Meanwhile, 40- and 45-foot containers have the same arrastre charges at R9,577.12 compared to R8,994.72 previously, equivalent to R582.40 more than in 2012.

On the other hand, exporters will pay R207.20 higher at R3,408.16 for a 20-footer from the previous R3,200.96, while 40- and 45- foot containers get the same new tariff at R7,827.68 compared to R7,350.56 previously or an increase of R477.12.

Arrastre charge is paid by the owner, consignee or their agent for the handling of the imported or exported article or baggage.

The request to raise the arrastre and wharfage fees was filed with the PPA last year by the International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTS), operator of the MICT, and Asian Terminals, Inc. (ATI), operator of the South Harbor, as a "cost-recovery" measure due to increasing prices of operating expenses. They also claimed that from the additional fees, new equipment will be purchased to improve the services in both ports.

The Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (PHILEXPORT), Export Development Council (EDC) and the Association of International Shipping Lines (AISL) opposed the increase of 20.5 percent and 21 percent requested by ICTSI and ATI respectively, citing that business and timing was bad.

After the public consultations conducted by the PPA on this matter, the agency granted a 15 percent upward adjustment to be implemented in two tranches. - (PHILEXPORT News and Features)