The Office for Competition (OFC) of the Department of Justice and the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) recently entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for competition reforms. The objective is to simplify business operations in ports, encourage competition and improve the competitiveness of the country's trade and industries that depend on seaborne export/import.
With the globalization of trade flows, shipping lines and cargo customers have become more and more concerned about the performance of the entire logistics chain. This includes the performance of ports which can no longer be seen as isolated from their supply chain partners such as truckers, forwarders, terminal operators, and bonded warehouses. Congestion and bottlenecks in transport have been a perennial complaint of port stakeholders affecting the competitiveness in the sector. One of the key outputs is a joint study on the regulatory framework, port efficiency, and competition issues focused on increasing the efficiency of the logistics and supply chain.
The PPA, in close cooperation with the OFC, is set to issue a Competitiveness Action Plan. The PPA will also designate a unit as its competition office.
"It is heartening to know that under the leadership of PPA General Manager Juan C. Sta. Ana, we can work together to level the playing field in this industry," said Secretary Leila M. De Lima. "As an archipelagic country, more than 80% of our country's trade pass thru our system of ports which clearly shows water transport is a main driver for growth recognized in the Cabinet Economic Cluster. We intend to address the governance issues to deliver economic justice," she added.
"Gathering all stakeholders for integrated and incisive solutions to the perennial problem of port cargo congestion is a necessary component," said General Manager Juan C. Sta. Ana. "We are hopeful that reforms can be made and sustained in partnership with the OFC," he said.
The OFC-PPA MOA was first conceptualized by DOJ Assistant Secretary / OFC Head Geronimo L. Sy and General Manager Sta. Ana during the Port Executive Conference (PEC) last 17-19 April 2013 in Tagaytay City.