MANILA, Philippines - The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia topped the list of countries with the most number of complaints on undelivered balikbayan boxes by sea in 2013, according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
In a statement, the DTI said that out of 149 complaints received by the department’s Philippine Shippers’ Bureau (PSB) on balikbayan boxes, 37 or 25 percent came from Saudi Arabia.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) came second with 31 complaints or 21 percent of the total, followed by the United States of America which had 22 complaints or 15 percent.
Kuwait placed fourth with 19 complaints or 13 percent, while the United Kingdom and Singapore got the fifth and sixth spots, with 11 and seven complaints, respectively.
DTI-Consumer Protection Group officer-in-charge Victorio Mario Dimagiba said the public should send their balikbayan boxes to foreign consolidators which have agents or freight forwarders in the Philippines that are DTI-accredited to ensure that their cargoes would be delivered.
“The non-delivery of balikbayan box usually occurs when incoming shipments of balikbayan boxes are abandoned at the Philippine ports for failure of unscrupulous foreign consolidators to remit necessary funds to their Philippine agents for the delivery of cargoes to consignees,” he said.
Based on the complaints received, the PSB issues a weekly advisory on foreign consolidators or principals and freight forwarders which have cases elevated to the Department of Justice, those operating without the DTI accreditation, those issued with formal charges and with pending complaints.
In its advisory dated January 10, 11 foreign consolidators or principals based in Saudi Arabia are included in the list for not remitting the necessary funds to their Philippine agents to effect the release of containers where usually, balikbayan boxes are part of the cargo.
These foreign consolidators are Caravan Cargo Agency, Cargo Net Worldwide Services, Global Cargo, Jonar Cargo, Kabalen Forwarders, North and South Express Cargo, PC Worldwide Cargo, Sir Cargo Forwarders, WRJ Freight Forwarders, Mohsen Cargo Services, and Fil-Arab International Cargo.
The Philippine agents of these foreign consolidators – Megatop Express Cargo Forwarder, Manila Broker, J.J. Transglobal Brokerage, Jonar Cargo, RGC Green Logistics, Kabalen Forwarder, R&M Cargo Services, and Sir2Go Forwarders are not accredited by the DTI and should not engage in the freight forwarding business.
Meanwhile, some accredited companies namely DXL International Freight Forwarder Inc., and ECFS International Forwarding Inc. implicated in the complaints are now facing revocation of their accreditation with DTI.
Six UAE-based companies are also in the advisory for the non-remittance of funds for Philippine agents. These companies are Al Rodah Marine Cargo, Cityline Cargo, Dagupan Cargo Packaging Services, Express Link Cargo Services, Smooth Express, and Grace Express Cargo.
Philippine agents not accredited by the DTI have been identified in the complaints such as Rodah Cargo Manila and VCG Customs Brokerage.
“DTI urges consumers to avoid becoming victims of unscrupulous cargo forwarders and check the list of DTI-accredited sea freight forwarders and monitor regular advisories and alerts at www.dti.gov.ph.,” Dimagiba said.
For complaints on pilferage or lost item and non-delivery of balikbayan boxes, individuals may visit the PSB at the second floor of the DTI Building at 361 Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City. Alternately, they may send complaints through facsimile number (632) 751.3305 or email address - firstname.lastname@example.org.