Shipping companies ordered to reduce fare, fees as fuel prices decline further

THE Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) has ordered shipping companies to reduce passenger and cargo rates as oil prices continue to drop.

Administrator Maximo Mejia Jr. ordered shipping companies to submit to Marina regional offices within three days copies of their adjusted rates.

But Chester Cokaliong, president and general manager of Cokaliong Shipping Lines, said that passenger and cargo rates are not dependent only on fuel prices.

He said that companies also have to consider prices of spare parts and taxes. He said that the prices of spare parts have not gone down so the cost of maintaining vessels remain high.

“Dry-docking is mandatory for ship owners and the cost has not changed. The salary or our crew and personnel increased,” he said.

Loan interests also remained high, he said.

“With all these factors that interplay, it's not viable for us at this stage to immediately reduce fare and cargo rates,” Cokaliong said.

In a Dec. 29, 2014 advisory, Mejia said that there is a need to ensure “just and equitable rates to safeguard the interests” of the public.

Marina 7 Director Nanettee Villamor-Dinopol said that Mejia's advisory was published last Dec. 30, which means shipping companies should have submitted their adjusted rates last Jan. 2.

Last Jan. 8, Dinopol issued a memorandum to all shipping companies, owners, operators and other concerned to comply with Mejia’s order.
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