DTI warns vs excess freight charges

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The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has warned businesses and the public to be wary of freight forwarding companies that have been collecting unauthorized extra fees.

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Examples of unnecessary charges being levied by some forwarders and appearing on customers’ bills include: Emergency Import Surcharge (EIS), System Charge, Emergency Bunker Surcharge (EBS), E2M Fee, Agency Fee, Deconsolidation Fee, Origin Handling Charge, Container Imbalance Charge (CIC), Emergency Cost Recovery Surcharge (ECRS), Port Congestion Surcharge (PCS), and Destination Delivery Charges (DDC). None of these are listed as permissible charges in Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 1, Series of 2005 issued by then Philippine Shippers Bureau (PSB) under the DTI.

According to the circular, the only standard charges that can be collected by freight forwarders are the Less-Container-Load (LCL) and Terminal Handling Charge, Documentation, Handling, Bill of Lading, Collect, and Turn-Over Fees, Currency Adjustment Factor (CAF), and Value Added Tax (VAT).

The DTI is advising shippers and importers to pay only for the allowed standard charges and be wary of the other additional charges.

DTI-accredited sea freight forwarding companies were likewise warned by the agency to adhere to the terms of PSB MC No. 1 in collecting charges.

“These excessive freight forwarding charges can result in high shipping costs that affect the export and import costs of Philippine products. Obviously, any upward adjustment in the freight forwarding charge will eventually be borne by the consumers,” said Victorio Mario A. Dimagiba, DTI Undersecretary for the Consumer Protection Group (CPG).

Under PSB Administrative Order No. 6, Series of 2005, any freight forwarding firm found to be overcharging and collecting fees not prescribed by the DTI can be fined up to P200,000 and be subject to revocation of its accreditation certificate on the third offense.

The DTI said freight forwarding firms that impose excessive charges can be reported by customers to the Consumer Protection Group at 751-3233, or DTI Direct at 751-3330.

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