The Shippers’ Protection Office (SPO) has received 45 complaints against and three inquiries about shipping lines since the office was established last year until April 15, 2021, according to data provided by the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).
Of the 45 complaints, three were resolved/closed, five were referred to other government agencies, two are undergoing clarificatory meetings, five are waiting for comments from complainees, and 27 were returned for compliance with the prescribed format.
One of the complaints was filed by the Port Users Confederation of the Philippines, Inc. (PUCP) in September 2020. The case is based on alleged “baseless and exorbitant” destination charges imposed by foreign shipping lines.
The complaint went through a series of hearings from February to March 2021; it is still pending, PUCP told PortCalls.
PPA general manager and SPO chair Jay Daniel Santiago, when asked if unresolved cases are due to lack of government regulation over foreign shipping charges, explained the issue of “unregulated shipping charges is a legislative and regulatory issue and is not the reason why complaints have not been resolved.”
In a text message to PortCalls, he said further, “The issues can be resolved if the parties agree to resolve it between themselves whether or not there are regulations on shipping charges.”
Santiago stressed that the SPO provides a grievance mechanism against unscrupulous practices of shipping companies. “It does not have any authority to render any form of judgment for or against any party.”
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