Local shipping industry will continue to lose from the airline industry unless services offered by vessel operators becomes at par with that of the airlines.
In a Passenger Service Rating System (PSRS) conducted by the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) recommended that local liners need to shape up to compete with the domestic air carriers.
Under the PSRS, vessel operators only got a 66.71% rating which is significantly lower than that of the airlines.
Marina conducted the survey covering the Manila to Iloilo, Manila to Cebu and Cagayan de Oro to Manila routes which are operated and owned by Negros Navigation , Philippine Span Asia Carrier formerly Sulpicio Lines Inc. and Aboitiz Transport.
The agency also conducted the survey to secondary routes such as Bacolod city to Dumangas , Iloilo and vice versa (vv); Caticlan, Aklan to Roxas, Oriental Mindoro vv; Cebu city – Tubigon, Bohol vv; Jagna, Bohol – Balbagon, Camiguin and Benoni, Camiguin to Balingoan, Misamis Occidental vv., which are normally serviced by shipping companies Montenegro Shipping Lines Inc. (MSLI), Jomalia, Tristar and Millennium.
The report showed that weighted points for passenger accommodation is 50% but the survey result conducted only revealed that only 34.07 was obtained by the shipping lines while service adequacy was given a weighted points of 20% but the vessels got only 12.69 percent.
Boarding system was 2.85% as against the 5% weighted points. They received 6.93% and 6.31% for baggage stowage security and reservation, respectively as against the 10% weighted points for both.
The management and staff got 3.86% compared with weighted points of 5%.
”Vessels plying in the said routes are still acceptable to passengers, though they fail in the expected time of departure which is usually delayed by some 15-30 minutes,” the survey result showed
”The low rating were due to cleanliness not maintained; damaged seats and benches; rusty floorings and walls among others; and no safety film played during voyage,” the survey said.
Marina has already informed the shipping lines on the result of the survey and was asked to review the PSRS manual as well as tools used in assessing the passenger service standard.
Marina also checked the market adequacy which covers vessel frequency and capacity and adherence to service schedule and boarding system, baggage stowage and security, reservation, manager and staff.
Three of the vessels surveyed, the St. Peter the Apostle, Princes of the South and Superferry 12 operated by Nenaco, Phil Span Asia and Aboitiz respectively – are vessels with more than 6,000 GT, ageing more than 25 years and have passenger capacity of more than 1,300.