The Department of Transportation (DOTr) creates an office against unreasonable charges to be known as the Shippers’ Protection Office (SPO).
Under DOTr Department Order (DO) 2020-008, the established SPO will serve as a body that will protect and assist shippers, both international and domestic, against unreasonable fees and charges imposed by international and domestic shipping lines. This applies to all complaints and issues related to the rates, charges, practices and operations of international and domestic shipping lines in the country.
Moreover, this body will (a) assist the public with matters concerning the operations of, as well as the fees and charges collected by international and domestic shipping lines, and (b) require international and domestic shipping lines to submit comments or position on complaints/issues raised against them, and to appear before the SPO. It will consist of DOTr Maritime, DOTr Legal, Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Philippine Coastguard (PCG), and Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA).
It is notable that the problem on which agency to regulate the exorbitant rates being imposed by the shipping lines has been long-enduring. This new directive will expectedly contribute to the reduced international and domestic shipping cost that will benefit the importers, exporters, and most especially the consumers. –KJDA