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Increased digitalization seen in shipping industry’

‘Increased digitalization seen in shipping industry’
Genivi Factao August 29, 2020

The adoption of digital technology by shipping industry players in the public and private sectors would make processes more efficient, according to the head of a shipping organization.

During The Manila Times The Future of Maritime Transport and Logistics online forum earlier this week, Patrick Ronas, president of the Association of International Shipping Lines Inc. (AISL), noted that global shipping lines had begun doing business with ports online, eliminating face-to-face transactions.

The Bureau of Customs, he added, has even started using a digital platform and a lot of government offices are slowly going digital.

“PHLPost (Philippine Postal Corp.) has started digitizing the way [it does] things. The Philippine Ports Authority has [an] online payment [facility]. Even the Maritime Industry Authority can [make] certifications online. Modernization is the key and it’s the right time for everybody” to do that, Ronas said.

“Hopefully, telecommunications companies can hasten the internet connection [improvements],” he added, referring to Globe Telecom Inc. and Smart Communications Inc. “We can’t digitize without an internet connection.”

According to the AISL chief, infrastructure development must continue amid the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. He said the government should continue prioritizing the movement of goods through its ports and across borders despite the lockdowns imposed to contain the spread of the highly contagious respiratory illness.

“Revenues through e-commerce sales channels, direct or indirect, have experienced a spike in their online sales. More portals [are emerging] as processes need to go online. Volumes were foreseen to be stronger from now [until] Christmas. Volumes at the yearend will be lower than 2019,” Ronas said.

“I see more infrastructures offering to interconnect, not only to move containers… We would see terminals grow as volume grows. [Again,] modernization is the key,” he added.

“This time is a time for modernization, for technical change. I hope the government would help us with the laws [on it]. Open trading, open for additional investments —we need legislation to do that.”

Ronas said shipping is vital and it’s very important for the ship to continue to move. When pandemic is over, they hope to see a big jump in a trade.