Container freight rates have dropped to pre-pandemic levels as the volume of world trade is projected to grow between 2.5 percent to 4.5 percent in the next couple of years.
Citing data, Dr. Enrico Basilio, chairman of Export Development Council (EDC) Networking Committee on Transport and Logistics, said more domestic shipping lines are seen doing international services, especially in the intra-Asia market, with 40 percent of the global trade already happening in this market.
“These connectivities basically support all these efforts on the part of the Philippines to be able to expand its market through greater connectivity,” he said during the National Export Congress.
Basilio said the Philippine government responded with the policy, particularly coming from the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), on providing special permits for Philippine flag vessels to operate internationally.
He said the country is also working to address the increases in port charges during the pandemic.
Basilio said data shows the Philippines now has the highest port cargo handling cost in Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
“So this is something that we have to address and we are so happy that the President in his near term agenda emphasized the need to reduce transport logistics costs because this is something that undermines our global competitiveness and makes even domestic products more expensive for our ordinary consumers,” he added.
In response to the directive of the President to reduce transport logistics costs, Basilio said Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista gave instructions to hold new port increases and even supported the advocacy to decouple the conflicting mandates of transport logistics regulatory bodies.
Basilio also cited Congress passage of the Electric Vehicle Industry Development Program.
“That (was) supposed to initially focus on public transport but later on we are saying that this can also be expanded to cover the logistics sector, talk about electric trucks, so this will fortify the development of a local electric vehicle industry in the country,” he added.