Cebu-based shipowners and operators recently assembled together to establish the Philippine Coastwise Shipping Association Inc. (PCSA), the country’s largest shipping group with the most members and biggest total gross tonnage of ships combined.
Former President and House speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was named as chairman emeritus of the group and inducted the officers of the newly-formed group .
She was named as chairman emeritus in recognition of her establishment of the 919-kilometer Strong Republic Nautical Highway (SRNH) in 2003 which connected major ports across the archipelago for ease of cargo and passenger shipping.
Arroyo said that the group would unite and strengthen the voice of the shipping operators in Visages and Mindanao to advance the modernization of the domestic shipping industry. She added that the development of the roll-on, roll-off (RORO) network within the SRNH enhanced the competitiveness and brought down the cost of transporting goods from the countryside to the urban centers, and helped boost tourism as well.
The PCSA is composed of members of the Philippine RORO Operators Association, the Visayan Association of Ferry Boat and Coastwise Ship-owners Operators, and the United Trampers Association of the Philippines.
With the merger, the association strengthened the position of the Maritime Industry Authority-Region 7 for having the biggest gross tonnage of ships registered in the country.
According to PSCA Chairman Lucio Lim Jr., the Cebu-based group aims to unify ship owners and operators for a policy framework for modernization, adherence to safety and service standards, and strengthen government and private sector cooperation.