Philippine pushes forward with modernizing shipping industry

MARINA enters pacts for financing packages, digital innovation.

Aiming to modernize the shipping industry in the Philippines, the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) has inked a partnership with the state-run Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) for the creation of financing packages that can be availed by the industry players.

MARINA and DBP formalized their partnership through a memorandum of agreement (MoA) signed during the opening day of the 7th PhilMarine 2022 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, Manila last month, to set up a loan program that can be tapped by industry players to finance strategic projects.

Based on the MoA signed by MARINA deputy administrator for operations Nannette Villamor-Dinopol and DBP president and CEO Emmanuel Herbosa, DBP will provide an “attractive financing program, training, and consultancy services that will eventually promote a progressive and sustainable maritime industry.”

MARINA deputy administrator for operations Nannette Dinopol (standing) during the opening day of the 7th PhilMarine 2022 event. 

The two agencies have established an agreement on the promotion and effective implementation of the Maritime Industry Development Plan (MIDP) — a 10-year blueprint for the improvement of the domestic shipping industry.

One of the eight priority programs under MIDP is to modernize the country’s domestic shipping industry. This is to accelerate the achievement of a nationally integrated and globally competitive maritime industry by developing and supporting organizational culture and leadership skills in maritime education, innovation, technology, and sustainability.

The MIDP is the first comprehensive effort to understand and address the core problem of the maritime sector in the Philippines in order to plan and implement more responsive programs that meet the demand of the maritime industry. 

During the MoA signing, Dinopol said: “The MARINA forged this MOA to collaborate with DBP in order to develop and implement comprehensive financing programs and products to assist shipyards, shipping companies, cooperatives, and its members on maritime-related investments as well as to provide necessary loan financing and credit facilities including other bank products and services in line with the strategic priority programs of the MIDP.”

According to Dinopol, even at the height of the pandemic, the agency continued to address barriers such as fleet aging and the lack of incentives and attractive financing schemes for industry stakeholders.

MARINA, which is the implementing agency, is keen to hasten the implementation of the MIDP that will make the country a competitive player in the global shipping industry.

Under the MIDP, it will address the upgrading of domestic shipping in support of the Philippine Nautical Highway Development (PNHD). MARINA also includes policies and regulations to modernize and upgrade the domestic fleet.

In an earlier online forum, former MARINA administrator Robert Empedrad said the agency was able to convince DBP to agree to loan money to ship owners who want to modernize their fleet.

“We will enter into a memorandum of agreement with DBP to provide a long-term loan of up to 25 years and we will give incentives to ship owners who want to acquire ships to serve our routes,” Empedrad said who vacated his post on June 30 after a two-year term in MARINA. 

The former MARINA chief also announced that the agency has replaced 60 percent of wooden-hulled vessels for smoother and safer maritime transportation. The agency has opened 19 routes in the country since 2020, while Philippine Ports Authority has completed 245 seaport improvement and development projects.

Former Philippine MARINA administrator Robert Empedrad (right) and Senior Vice President Maritime Simulation, Kongsberg Digital, Morten Hasas during the signing ceremony of the MoU. 

MARINA partners with Kongsberg Digital to advance digital innovation 

To bring the Philippines to the forefront of transformation in the maritime sector, MARINA recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with software firm Kongsberg Digital (KDI) representing an important milestone for innovation and transformation in maritime training in the country.

This MoU is expected to contribute toward the realization of the MIDP through the use of innovative and modern simulation technologies where KDI and MARINA will work together in several areas.

KDI will deliver a range of its simulation systems to the agency. This partnership means that MARINA will be able to provide simulation technology for research, operations, and training, increasing the knowledge and competency of its workforce.

Empedrad said, “With this MoU, MARINA and Kongsberg Digital will work together to adopt and leverage more advanced methodologies and tools within the maritime education and training segment as well as forming best practices. This will lead to a more competent and agile seafaring workforce, prepared to adapt to the everchanging maritime landscape.”

Moreover, MARINA said the MoU with KDI covers the importance of Maritime Education and Training (MET) and the recognition that it is only possible to ensure and maintain highly qualified human resources in the maritime industry through effective and quality MET.

The two will also collaborate on the development of traffic capacity studies for coastal and inland waterways using simulation technology, which is also part of the MIDP program’s three initiatives; training and development of MARINA research personnel on exercise area development tools, which will help to increase their knowledge and skills in database development, specifically for upgrading domestic shipping in support of PNHD, and enhancing both of maritime safety and security in the country.

All photos credit: MARINA.  Top caption: MARINA and DBP formalized their partnership through a memorandum of agreement signed during the opening day of the 7th PhilMarine 2022 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, Manila.

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