DOTr to waive some port fees for shipping firms
Returning seafarers will receive free novel coronavirus 19 testing through the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) starting December 1, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said Saturday.
The DOTr will also waive some port fees for shipping companies and operators, as part of efforts to help a maritime industry hit severely by the pandemic.
The initiatives are part of the provisions under “Bayanihan to Recover as One Act” (Bayanihan 2).
The DOTr said it would utilize P270 million to fund the COVID-19 testing of returning Filipino seafarers.
Only seafarers who disembark through Philippine ports and airports are entitled to the free testing. This will be conducted by a service provider to be sourced by the PPA.
The DOTr added it planned to spend P250 million to subsidize fees to be collected from domestic shipping owners, specifically, dockage (domestic) and lay-up fee (domestic).
To avail of the assistance, shipping companies and operators should have valid a Certificate of Public Convenience, a Provisional Authority, or Special Permit issued by the Maritime Industry Authority.
They must also have valid accreditation certificate issued by the PPA.
Shipping companies and operators who have pending applications for accreditation are also eligible, unless the said application has been denied by the PPA.
The financial assistance shall also be on a first come, first served basis and per vessel, per transaction bases.
Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said the financial assistance, in the form of the waived fees and free COVID-19 testing, will be of great help to maritime workers affected by the economic downturn.