PPA finalizes plan to boost Phl ports’ competitiveness

Philippine Ports Authority (Photo by Philstar)

MANILA, Philippines - The state-run Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) is set to finalize a new strategic port-wide program to maintain competitiveness among all ports operating all over the country.

PPA general manager Juan Sta. Ana said the creation of the Special Project Office (SPO) would address the sagging competitiveness of Philippine ports after the agency entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Office for Competition of the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Sta. Ana said the SPO is tasked to develop, oversee and manage the PPA’s strategic planning programs and project management for the design and development of new strategic port-wide programs that are required to support competitive strategy and objectives.

“We have created this group to guarantee that we develop best practices around planning activities to ensure that PPA moves towards implementing competition as the way the Authority does port business,” he stressed.

The PPA chief said Transport Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya has given the agency a marching order to make sure that the partnership with the DOJ would redound to positive impact for port users as well as the public.

“The group is likewise expected to prioritize and focus the Ports resources on projects, programs and issues most important to fulfillment of the Port’s vision,” Sta. Ana said.

Meanwhile, the specific functions of the group as embodied in PPA Special Order No. 422-2013 signed on July 8 include the development and implementation of a Port Competitiveness Strategy and Action Agenda for the Authority and the organization of Port Competitiveness Units (PCUs) composed of organic staff and private sector counterparts in head office and field offices.

The group is also tasked to represent the PPA in coordinating and liaising with the OFC, the National Competitiveness Council and other government agencies in developing and promoting port competitiveness action plans and make sure these plans are implemented within the 2013-2016 period.

Last July 1, the PPA and OFC signed an agreement to jointly address port congestion, one of the major concerns of the shipping industry the past couple of years.

Both agencies saw it fit that the signing of the MOA would step up the consultation process in order to come up with a viable solution to the congestion issue clouting the Ports of Manila and other ports nationwide.

The MOA provides that the OFC-DOJ conduct a port sector study to look into the level of competition, port efficiency, and regulatory framework among others as well as assist PPA in the preparation of its Competitiveness Action Plan.

Data showed the cargo volume shipped in and out of the Philippines reached 181.49 million metric tons last year from 178.28 million metric tons in 2011.

Foreign cargo shipped in and out of the Philippines climbed 3.11 percent to 107.35 million metric tons from 104.1 million metric tons while cargo that moved within the country was almost unchanged at 74.14 million metric tons from 74.17 million metric tons.

On the other hand, the number of passengers reached 49.85 million last year or 0.74 percent higher than the 49.48 million passengers serviced in 2011.

The statistics revealed that the number of domestic passengers inched up 0.73 percent to 49.79 million last year from 49.43 million in 2011 while the number of foreign passengers increased 1.85 percent to 51,381 from 50,450.

Original Source: www.philstar.com