Sunday, April 07, 2013

First ASEAN Ro-Ro to sail this year

The country’s first roll-on roll-off (Ro-Ro) vessel to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will start sailing in the middle of this year, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) said.

In a statement, the PCCI said the Philippine Ro-Ro vessel is scheduled to start sailing to Indonesia by the middle of this year with the establishment of the Davao-GenSan (Philippines)-Bitung (Indonesia) Ro-Ro route.

The Super Shuttle Ro-Ro will sail from Davao City to Bitung in Indonesia.

The PCCI and the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ABAC) have been pushing for the project as it is seen as an important milestone in the implementation of the region’s economic community.

The project is also expected to improve connectivity and promote more trade and investments in the ASEAN.

The project was made possible with the signing of a memorandum of cooperation between Davao City and Manado Chambers of Commerce and Industry in November last year.

 “The private sector has taken the lead in spearheading the implementation of the project through a bilateral arrangement between the business sector of the Philippines and Indonesia,” PCCI president Miguel Varela said.

Based on a study conducted by Research Education and Institutional Development Foundation, there is a thriving trade between Mindanao and North Sulawesi, a province of Indonesia.

The two are expected to significantly benefit from the project.

North Sulawesi’s exports to the Philippines in 2010 were worth $6.845 million.

The shipped commodities include crude coconut oil, copra, desiccated coconut, crude palm oil, coconut charcoal and frozen fish.

Its top imports from the Philippines in the same year, meanwhile had a combined value of $147.932 million.

These comprised of capital goods, raw materials and consumption goods.

The study also noted that the project would reduce the transport costs by about five to 10-percent compared to shipping the commercial goods through wooden vessels.

The transportation time would also be cut from two-three days to one-and-a-half day.

For his part, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo welcomed the initiative and assured the group of the government’s full support.

 “Definitely we want to pursue a more strategic economic relationship with Indonesia,” he said, adding that Davao City could be a good transshipment hub in the region.-The Philippine Star (April 07, 2013)

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