Cebu News

DOTr vows to address PCSA concerns

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — The Department Of Transportation (DOTr) vowed to look into issues raised by the members Philippine Coastwise Shipping Association (PCSA) as they also asked ship owners and operators to help provide Filipinos a comfortable, accessible, safe, secure, and affordable transport.

DOTr Secretary Jaime Bautista said this during the PCSA’s general membership meeting at Fili Hotel at NuStar Resort at the South Road Properties yesterday.

Among PCSA’s concerns include the international convention standards and the high charges collected by some government agencies which DOTR promised to review.

Bautista, citing a 2023 paper by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, the domestic shipping industry is riddled with inefficiencies and related consequences such as high cost of shipping, low quality of services, and frequent maritime accidents.

“Inter-island shipping continues to be challenged by the lack of ship financing and incentives, infrastructure issues, high cost of fuel, shortage of shipyards for drydocking and repairs, emerging technologies, dearth of human resource to man domestic ships and the demands to address climate change, in particular reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships,” he said.

Cebu shipbuilding

The Philippines remains the fifth largest shipbuilding country throughout the world, with Cebu having 20 of the 124 licensed shipyards in the country and Tsuneishi Cebu and Austal Philippines leading the list of local shipbuilders who registered the biggest order of new vessels at the end of 2022.

“It is interesting to note that in 2022 a total of 485 newly built vessels were imported for domestic use, while 390 ships were locally constructed for domestic operations. Not far behind are the 235 vessels locally built but exported abroad,” Bautista said.

According to MARINA, the 6,871 skilled workers listed in 2022 account for 73% of the total manpower in the shipbuilding sector, but they still need for some upskilling.

Green shipping

Bautista also commended those who are already into “green shipping” by modernizing domestic fleet with the acquisition of newly built IACS-classed ships.

He said it is the right direction following the adverse effects of climate change.

“I would like to dissociate any notion that protecting our marine environment is the job solely of government. We should do this together,” Bautista said while asking for their support in the development and implementation of a regulatory regime towards decarbonization.

The need to stay competitive via digitalization is also expected.

“For domestic shipping to be competitive and in step with international trends, I urge you seriously consider digitalizing your operations…You can start by adopting e-ticketing or online booking and other digital solutions,” added Bautista.

Last February 8, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. issued Executive Order No. 55 adopting the 10-year Maritime Industry Development Plan 2028 or the MIDP 2028, calling for the modernization and expansion of the domestic shipping industry along with promotion and expansion of the overseas shipping industry as well as that of the shipbuilding and ship repair industry; and promotion of highly-skilled and competitive maritime workforce.

It also includes 120 projects and activities as well as a list of enabling legislation that will help support the objectives of the plan. (CEBU NEWS)

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