Shipping regulator Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) is mulling to take on the powers of the shipping forwarders in the country, but it wants an enabling law for the transfer of responsibilities.
Shipping regulator Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) is mulling to take on the powers of the shipping forwarders in the country, but it wants an enabling law for the transfer of responsibilities. In a draft of the amendment of Republic Act 9295, or the Domestic Shipping Development Act of 2004, all forwarders, otherwise known as nonvessel operating common carriers (NVOCC), will now seek accreditation from Marina when the proposed bill is passed into law. At the moment, all forwarders are being supervised by Philippine Shippers" Bureau (PSB), which is under the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). NVOCC refers to common carriers that do not operate vessels by which the water transportation is provided. It is also considered as a shipper in its relationship with domestic carriers, but it is the name of its customer that will be in the bill of lading.
NVOCC ?shall secure accreditation from Marina. The Marina shall define rights, obligations and liabilities of NVOCCs,? the draft of the bill amending the law states.
According to the strategy of Marina, the agency will file two bills in both houses of Congress, one of which is the said amendment and the other is the broader Omnibus Maritime Code.
The transfer of powers of PSB to Marina cropped up last year when President Arroyo toured the country to open several ports under the Strong Republic Nautical Highway after Port Users Confederation (PUC) and Philippine International Seafreight Forwarders Association (PISFA) wrote to Malacañang on the said transfer of powers.
PSB currently supervises and oversees international shipping lines through its ship agents, representatives, or local branches.
When the PSB powers are transferred to Marina, the rate-setting mechanism will only be limited to local freight since it may violate some laws, such as the constitutional right to enter freely into contracts, if implemented to foreign shipping lines.
A memorandum of agreement between PSB and Marina is said to being currently drafted, stipulating the transition period for the transfer of function of the sea-freight industry, including the details of personnel transfer and documents related to the registration, accreditation of NVOCC, freight forwarders, cargo consolidators and break-bulk agents, among others.
Until now, however, no executive order from the President has been issued nor has formal agreement between the two agencies transpired.
A PSB official earlier said they would give the data they have accumulated over the years. If there are PSB employees to be transferred, these would be limited to the two persons handling the accreditation.
In their letter to the special review body, of which Marina and the DTI are members, PUC and PISFA claimed that Marina is the ?most appropriate? government body to regulate and oversee sea-freight forwarders. They also want to put under one department both the air-freight and the sea-freight forwarding industry.