By Lorenz S. Marasigan, March 4 2019; Business Mirror

Image Credit to Business Mirror

The Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) is crafting an incentives program for domestic shipping, shipbuilding and ship repair to enhance the investment climate in the Philippines and attract more private-sector participation in the maritime industry.

The maritime regulator said it is strengthening the implementation of the Domestic Shipping Development Act of 2004, which provides for the granting of incentives for shipping players, such as exemptions from value-added tax (VAT).

Citing data from 2014 to 2017, Marina said there is a need for “increased awareness among stakeholders” of the provisions of the law, as only 103 out of 2,148 imported ships were granted VAT incentives during the three-year period.

“Hence, the Marina has committed to formulate an attractive financing scheme and to review existing incentive programs for the players in the domestic shipping and shipbuilding industries,” the statement read.

Marina said it will also review regulations to accelerate fleet-modernization programs, as well as modernize naval ships and maritime security assets.

“The enhancement of shipbuilding research and development, modernization of shipyard facilities and provision of regular training for shipyard personnel will also be prioritized,” the statement read.

Marina noted that it is now easier for shipping players to operate in the Philippines, after the government deregulated the domestic shipping industry, which promoted ease of doing business by reducing the processes needed for operations.

“This resulted to a steady increase in the issuance of the certificate of public convenience since 2010, allowing more shipping operators to take part in the enhancement of the navigability within Philippine borders by serving existing routes, as well as new routes,” the statement read.

It added that “through the availability of needed materials locally, the installment of modern shipbuilding and ship-repair facilities, and the improvement of the quality management system, Philippine shipyards may increase its capability to construct an average of 500 gross tonnages to 2500 GT of tankers or roll-on/roll-off passenger ships for the domestic market.”

Marina will also set a vessel-retirement program for ships that fail to meet the minimum classification standards of a government-recognized classification society to uphold maritime safety and environmental protection.