38 shipping companies will increase passenger and freight rates by 20%
The Maritime Industry Authority said over the weekend that at least 38 maritime operators are expected to raise passenger and freight fares by up to 20% this month due to high fuel prices.
Attorney Maria Rowena Hubilla, director of franchising at MARINA, said two shipping companies in the National Capital Region will impose a 20% increase in passenger and freight rates in April.
She said 31 shipping operators in the Central Visayas would also charge a 20% increase in passenger and freight rates this month.
Feelisa Orongan, MARINA’s regional manager, said five shipping companies in Western Visayas had sent a notice saying they would raise passenger and freight rates by 20%.
Fifty shipping companies across the country raised passenger and freight rates between 12% and 50% in March.
MARINA said Republic Act No. 9295 provides for the deregulation of the domestic shipping industry, where domestic operators have the right to set their own passenger or freight rates or both to encourage and attract new operators and promote effective competition to serve the public interest.
“The Secretary’s Directive [Arthur] Tugade of DOTr, [is that] there will be no fare hike given the snowball effect, which will have a huge impact on ordinary and ordinary people,” Orongan said.
Orongan said the DOTr plans to include the shipping sector in the award of fuel subsidies for the second tranche which is expected to be released in April.
The DOTr earlier began rolling out the first tranche of its 2.5 billion peso fuel subsidy to recipients of public utility vehicles amid soaring oil prices.
Data from the Ministry of Energy showed that Dubai crude rose by around $8 a barrel from March 21-25.
MOPS gasoline and MOPS diesel also rose by around $8 and $21 a barrel, respectively.