THE Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) will pilot-test within the first half of the year a centralized online ticketing system which hopes to deter overbooking by shipping lines, improving safety in the industry.

The online booking system, which will provide ticketing for roll-on/roll-off passenger ships, will be managed by the PPA.

Shipping lines have their own online ticketing systems to process advance booking of tickets but they tend to overbook, according to the PPA.

“By the first half of 2020, the PPA will pilot-test a centralized e-ticketing system to avoid overloading and overbooking on sea vessels,” the Department of Transportation (DoTr) said in its 2019 annual report.

In a copy of the Administrative Order (AO) No. 12 series of 2019 provided by the PPA to BusinessWorld on Monday, it said that one of the objectives of the centralized e-ticketing system is “to institute port process improvement for maritime safety and security since this will provide a useful instrument for preventing ship overloading and overcrowding.”

The AO further states that the project aims to “provide ease of doing business and efficient delivery of ship/port services, get rid of fixers and scalpers, and provide shipping lines with savings in terms of administrative costs.”

The platform, PPA said, also aims to provide automatic preparation of passenger manifests that can readily be submitted to government agencies.

The PPA will provide the system software, office space and hardware to implement the online booking system at the ports under its jurisdiction.

Shipping lines will be responsible for the office space and equipment not provided by the PPA.

PPA is responsible for the collection of the integrated shipping fare, passenger terminal building (PTB) fee, and the added administrative fee.

“PPA shall also be responsible for the remittance to the shipping lines, the PTB operators, and the PPA’s designated service provider of their share of the integrated fees/fares,” according to the AO.

“Shipping lines will take charge of the refund, rebooking, and required actions… in cases of cancelled, delayed, or unfinished/uncompleted voyages,” it added. — Arjay L. Balinbin