How port congestion may affect grocery prices

by Jon Carlos Rodriguez, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Aug 11 2014 03:42 PM | Updated as of Aug 11 2014 11:42 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The congestion at Manila ports may drive up the prices of goods in supermarkets in the coming months, according to Steven Cua, president of the Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Association.

Cua said congestion at the ports have already affected the operations of some manufacturers.

He said a meeting was held last week with the Department of Trade and Industry and the Philippine Chamber of Food Manufacturers wherein issues were raised involving the shipping of products to Metro Manila.

“Hindi maipasok ang mga finished products o mga sangkap sa kanilang mga mina-manufacture, because of that tumaas ang cost of production,” Cua told dzMM on Monday.

Cua said prices of some products have already increased slightly due to added delivery costs and lessened supply.

“Hindi mailabas ang sangkap, so kumokonti ang supply, hindi na normal. Minsan hindi makadaan sa Manila port, dumadaan pa sa Batangas or Subic ports, so the cost of transportation may additional trucking fees’ yan na P20,000,” Cua said.

“Nagbabadyang palapit ang Christmas at kung ang production ay tatamaan, tataas ang cost of production at mga bilihin ay maaaring tumaas. Kaya kailangan gawan ng solusyon kaagad ng gobyerno, ng PPA in particular together with private companies running these ports kung paano i-decongest,” he added.

Cua noted that as of this month, the Philippine Amalgamated Supermarkets Association has yet to receive any advise of a massive price hike from its members, which include RFC, Liana’s, and Welcome.

He said that because of the congestion problem, business should also look for other ways to deliver their goods without affecting the consumers.

“Ito ‘yung panahon for entrepreneurs to be creative, mag-isip ng paraan: Ano ang gagawin ko, kailangan ko ba ipasok sa ibang port? Or ano ang pwede kong gawin para hindi ako maputulan ng supply at mawalan ako ng customer at mapunta sa ibang brand?” he said.

Consumers, on the other hand, may also consider expanding their options by patronizing smaller brands not affected by the port congestion.

“Maraming brands out there. It’s time also to shift to smaller companies that produce the same products that we need,” said Cua.