DTI to truckers: Cut rates to lower prices of goods

THE Department of Trade and Industry is calling on truckers to bring down hauling fees that will allow the government to initiate the lowering the prices of more consumer goods.

“Hindi pa sila nagbaba, based on the feedback. Kailangan na magbaba ang truckers. Malaking part ng cost nila sa gasolina so magbaba na sila ng presyo at hindi na pwede maging rason ang port  congestion,” Trade Secretary Gregory L. Domingo said in an interview with reporters after presiding over a meeting of the National Price Coordinating Council on Tuesday.

The global price of oil has plummeted from $110 per barrel in June of last year to almost current prices of $40 to $45 per barrel.

Domingo explained that trucks servicing the ports have been making 11,000 trips per day in and out of the ports, which, he said, is way above the 8,000 trips that the ports authority have said is the efficient level for truckers to recover costs.

Truckers rates now range from P20,000 to P30,000 from pre-congestion level of P8,000, said Domingo.

Trade Undersecretary Victorio Mario A. Dimagiba said that, while they don’t have an estimate of how much truckers should lower fees, rates stuck at the port-congestion level are not justified.

Albert Suansing, director of the Confederation of Truckers Association of the Philippines, said via text message that truckers have already decreased their rates.

“Bumababa na ang rates. Kaya lang, hindi maibaba to February 2014 level ang rates since it is still taking a long time for trucks to do deliveries,” Suansing said.

The CTAP president said rates in Metro Manila were at  P15,000  to P20,000 without expounding on rates outside Metro Manila and Cavite.

Suansing explained that turnaround time in February of 2014 in Metro Manila and Cavite areas were 8 hours and outside  Cavite and Metro Manila is 12 hours. Now, the same trips last 36 hours and, in the case of outside the metro and Cavite, as much as two days, he added.

Domingo also said that, even if the port congestion has not yet normalized, they’re already profitable at the rate of throughput in delivering goods and so should pass on the savings on lower fuel costs to consumers.

The DTI chief, in December, called on manufacturers and producers of goods and services to lower their price to reflect the softening of oil prices in the global market.

Domingo, likewise, reported the prices of basic goods and prime commodities on Tuesday morning, reporting that galvanized-iron sheets, rebars, cement and vegetables have decreased prices by an average of 2 percent to 4 percent on a year-on-year basis.

Prices of rice, sardines, noodles, and plywood have remained steady Domingo reported, while sugar and evaporated, condensed and powdered milk have registered increases on a year-to-year basis.

Sugar and milk have registered slight decreases on a year-to-year comparison to reflect global prices and competition in the local market, Domingo said.



Catherine Pillas

Catherine Pillas is a graduate of Ateneo De Manila University, major in European Studies - International Relations, with minor degrees in History and English. She's been a beat reporter for 3 years now, covering the Senate beat briefly before being designated as the trade and industry reporter for BusinessMirror.