KORONADAL CITY, South Cotabato, Apr. 12 (PIA) -- The governments of Philippines and Indonesia will launch a roll-on, roll-off shipping service that will connect Davao and General Santos cities in the Mindanao to Bitung City in Indonesia, an official of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) announced.
Jojo Reynaldo, head of the South Central Mindanao Office of the MinDA, told local media at Monday's Kapihan sa PIA 12 that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Indonesian President Joko Widodo will lead the send-off ceremony of the maiden voyage of the M/V Super Shuttle RORO 14 from Davao Sasa Port to General Santos City and Bitung City on April 30.
M/V Super Shuttle RORO 14, owned by the Philippines-registered Asian Marine Transport Corp, is a cargo and RORO car carrier with a gross capacity of 6,974 tons.
Under the ASEAN RORO initiative, the said shipping route aims to enhance the connectivity in the ASEAN and maximize the use of the regional lanes.
It is also expected to propel trade between businesses in different parts of Mindanao in the Philippines and the Sulawesi provinces in Indonesia.
Among the goods that could be traded in this partnership include animal feeds, aqua products, charcoal, coffee beans, construction materials, copra, cordage, corn, feed ingredients, fertilizers, food and beverage, fresh fruits, high value crops, ice cream products, lumber, matured coconut, meat, peanuts, poultry, soya, sugar, synthetics, and vegetables.
It has also the potential for promotion of tourism partnership with the establishment of a direct links in these places, the MinDA official noted.
Reynaldo emphasized that the Davao-Gensan-Bitung route provides more time and cost-efficient alternative to the usual Davao-Manila-Jakarta- Bitung route.
This direct route, he explained takes only one and a half days to complete and estimated to cost only $700 per TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) as compared to 3 to 5 weeks and $2,200 per TEU when using the Davao-Manila-Jakarta-Bitung rout.
As an expansion of the original Gensan-Bitung route, the Davao-Gensan-Bitung RORO shipping service was first scheduled for launching in December 2012 but was temporarily shelved when the Indonesian government issued Ministry Trade Order 83 (MTO); the MTO listed products that were prohibited for trading both countries, including food, gifts, toys, electronics, medicines and garments.
Said MTO was lifted last year, paving the way for the launching on April 30. (DEDoguiles-PIA 12)