New ferry service from Davao City to Indonesia to boost EAGA trade
DAVAO CITY – Mindanao businessmen are expected to save on time and cost in shipping their products to Indonesia when a new ferry service from here to North Sulawesi launches on Sunday.
The launching of the new ferry service is also seen to further boost trade within the East Asian Growth Area (EAGA).
President Duterte and his Indonesian counterpart, President Joko Widodo, are scheduled to lead the launching of the shipping route that would link the cities of Davao and General Santos to the Indonesian city of Bitung.
The route, which will be serviced weekly by the M/V Super Shuttle RoRo (Roll-on, Roll-off) 12, is expected to shorten travel time from Davao to the largest city of Indonesia’s North Sulawesi province to one and a half days, excluding port stay.
Operated by the Asian Marine Transport Corp., the vessel can load up to 500 twenty-footer containers of cargo.
The usual circuitous route that runs from Manila to the Indonesian capital of Jakarta and Bitung takes three to five weeks.
The new route will also lower freight costs to P35,000 ($700) per twenty-foot container, from the P100,000 ($2, 000) of the Davao-Manila-Jakarta route.
Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) chair Abul Khayr Alonto said the new sea route would be crucial in strengthening trade relations between Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, the countries comprising the so-called BIMP-EAGA, as “it supports the achievement of other goals of the sub-region’s pillars like agribusiness, tourism, socio-cultural and education.”
Alonto said the new route would open greater access for local businesses to exploit international trade, as well as stimulate other areas of development such as joint tourism promotion, establish direct linkages and increase investment inflows.
Arturo Boncato Jr., Department of Trade and Industry assistant secretary, said the ferry service was among the priority projects of the sub-region’s connectivity group.
Boncato said the route has been beneficial due to the substantial cost savings “that would result in improved competitiveness for our Mindanao products which have been gaining interest within BIMP-EAGA.”
“The route will provide an efficient access for local businessmen to trade with their Indonesian counterparts,” Boncato, a senior BIMP-EAGA official, said.
Among the Mindanao products that will be shipped to Indonesia using the new shipping route are animal feeds, fertilizer, construction materials, ice cream products, poultry (halal), fresh fruits and synthetics. SFM
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