DOTr orders shipping lines to allot space for food and give discounts for agri products

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DAVAO CITY — Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade has ordered the domestic shipping lines to provide no less than 12 percent of their vessel’s cargo capacity per voyage for the exclusive accommodation of agricultural and food products, and to extend preferential shipping rates on agricultural and food products.

Tugade issued on Wednesday a Department Order 2020-007, also mandates the shipping lines to extend preferential shipping rates on agricultural and food products.

Apart from allocating exclusive space for food and agricultural products, the order also enjoins domestic shipping lines to extend a discount of no less than forty (40) percent from their published shipping rates.

Following the government’s drive to provide food security for the people amid the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

In a press statement, Tugade the order is is in line with the government’s action to contain the COVID-19 threat and to mitigate the pandemic’s adverse effects by mobilizing the necessary resources and taking the appropriate response measures.

“At this period when the danger of the pandemic is still very real, the people must be assured that the production and delivery of food and agricultural items will not be hampered or delayed. This is important as many parts of the country remain under quarantine measures where movement is restricted,” Tugade emphasized..

“With this department order, our people will be assured of food supply, as each vessel being operated by a domestic shipping line will be carrying needed food and agricultural products to various destinations in the country,” it added.

While Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez lauded the apt and timely response of DOTr, mentioning that the DO is crucial and complementary to the trade department’s recently issued memorandum on the lifting of purchase limits on basic goods.

“From the very beginning, the stable supply and unhampered movement of all food and non-food cargoes has always been our priority. This is to prevent the unreasonable increase in the prices of goods, especially at this time of the pandemic when sources of income are limited,” Lopez said.

The Agriculture department said the move will greatly help consumers by easing up the tight supply of food necessities and stabilize their prices.

The order will help in shipping surplus food supplies to Luzon and Visayas and thus ease up the tight supply and will stabilize prices for the benefit of consumers.

The same order from Tugade states that domestic shipping companies are not prevented from extending a higher discounted shipping rate for agricultural and food products transported by their vessels.

He also ordered the Maritime Industry Authority to issue the guidelines of the DO within 30 days of its effectivity. The Secretary also ordered the Philippine Ports Authority to ensure that domestic shipping companies comply with the department order, and to impose sanctions for non-compliance-.Newsline

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