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DTI warns the public against unaccredited cargo forwarders

CALAMBA CITY, Laguna, July 30 (PIA) --The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) warns the public particularly the overseas workers that ships in cargoes from abroad to transact only with freight forwarders accredited with the Philippine Shippers’ Bureau (PSB) to avoid problems with their shipments. 

The alert came up, as last year, PSB received 153 complaints regarding the non-delivery of balikbayan boxes shipped from various origins worldwide. 

DTI-PSB records show that from 2008 up to the present, there were 550 complaints that have been filed/received, processed, acted upon, monitored, and referred to. In 2011, there were 208 complaints filed mostly on undelivered balikbayan boxes. Last year, PSB received 150 complaints. 

DTI-PSB records show that most incidents of undelivered balikbayan boxes involved freight forwarding companies without PSB accreditation. 

Of the complaints, 60 have either already been delivered or picked up by the consignees through the assistance of DTI-PSB; eight cases were withdrawn by the complainants, 41 were referred to regular courts, four were elevated for arbitration and 41 still for DTI-PSB’s disposition because additional information from the complainants are needed. 

DTI Undersecretary for Consumer Welfare and Business Regulation Group (CWBRG) Zenaida Cuison-Maglaya emphasized that accredited freight forwarders follow government standards that guarantee their capability to provide reliable service to their customers. 

Maglaya added that aside from observing ethics in doing business, accredited forwarders subject shipments under insurance coverage. 

According to Atty. Victorio Mario A. Dimagiba, PSB Director-in-Charge, non-delivery of balikbayan boxes usually occurs when foreign consolidators/ principal sea freight forwarders do not remit a portion of their collected charges to their accredited Philippine agents/ local sea freight forwarders to prompt the release and delivery of balikbayan boxes. 

Dimaguiba said that DTI-PSB is mandated by law to promote and protect the interest of the shipping public and helps to professionalize the freight forwarding industry by granting accreditation to weed out those companies that are not ready and nor qualified to engage in the cargo handling business. 

He added that DTI-PSB does not grant accreditation to freight forwarders who have pending or unresolved complaints. 

The erring companies are listed in the PSB Advisory/Alert which was updated July 19, 2013. 

Freight forwarding without the PSB accreditation and/or subject of complaints pertaining to balikbayan boxes are contained in the PSB ADVISORY/ALERT updated as of July 19, 2013. Said companies were either issued formal charges; issued Decisions by DTI's Office of Legal Affairs; or issued Show Cause Orders by the DTI-PSB Consumer Arbitration Officers the DTI Office of Legal Affairs (DTI-OLA). 

Dimagiba explained that, when necessary, foreign principals did not remit funds to accredited Philippine agent/local freight forwarders and as consequence, shipment or the balikbayan boxes with the Bureau of Customs will not be released and will not be delivered to consignees/ recipients.

Philippine counterparts/agents of principals/cargo consolidators are under investigation pertaining to undelivered balikbayan boxes and other violations under the PSB Administrative Order No. 6, series of 2005. 

For more information on the lists of accredited freight forwarding companies and those companies with complaints against them, visit or call DTI-PSB at +632.751.3304. 

DTI urges the public to file a complaint regarding non-delivery, loss or pilferage of balikbayan boxes through the DTI-PSB email or through telephone at the DTI Direct (02) 751.3330. (Charlie S. Dajao, DTI Calabarzon)