Friday, May 5, 2017

DOTr to Investors, Businesses: Maximize Opportunities of New ASEAN RORO Shipping Link

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The Department of Transportation (DOTr) reiterated President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s invitation to investors and business leaders of both the Philippines and Indonesia on “harnessing the potentials” of the newly inaugurated ASEAN roll-on, roll-off (ASEAN RORO) shipping network during the arrival ceremonies of the maiden voyage of M/V Super Shuttle RORO 12 at the port of Bitung in Indonesia on Tuesday, May 2.

Addressing before government officials, trade and maritime leaders of Indonesia, DOTr Undersecretary for Maritime Felipe A. Judan has urged the Indonesian business community to participate in the shipping trade using the said link.

“Let me take this opportunity to echo President Duterte’s invitation to the people of Indonesia, particularly the private sector and business community here, to harness the potentials of this new shipping route by maximizing the opportunities it offers while fostering improvements and sustainability in maritime connectivity and relations in the region,” Judan said.

Last Sunday, April 30, President Duterte and Indonesian President Joko Widodo jointly officiated the formal opening of the new route and the maiden voyage of M/V Super Shuttle RORO 12.

The ASEAN Roro Shipping Service, the first of three routes identified to boost trade in BIMP-EAGA or the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area, will cross the Philippine cities of Davao and General Santos and Bitung (DGB) in the province of North Sulawesi in Indonesia.

On Friday, April 28, the transportation heads of both Indonesia and the Philippines formally signed a Joint Declaration that would establish this sea connection. The document also stated that both countries ensure sea connectivity services that would meet the safety, security and environmental standards set by international conventions, not just be limited to the newly-opened ASEAN RORO service.

This new trading route will significantly reduce shipping time of transported goods from the usual five weeks to just two to three days.

This will, in effect, reduce the logistical cost of trade by about US$1,500 (Php75,000) per twenty-foot unit or TEU. The expected cost would only become US$700/TEU (Php35,000) from the previous US$2,200/TEU (Php110,000) freight cost of taking the previous route of Davao, Manila, Singapore, Jakarta and Bitung.

With greater accessibility and cost-efficient shipment of goods, the connecting line is expected to open new opportunities for trade, investments and tourism. This will, in turn, spur local economic activities in both countries and provide jobs to its people.

The two governments are also targeting to eventually open the ASEAN RORO route for the operation of passenger vessels, enticing the movement of people in the two countries.

“In the years to come, we are hopeful that this new shipping network could entice more businesses to participate in maritime trade and logistics and eventually venture possible opportunities for movement passenger vessels. In doing so, we may not only be facilitating the movement of goods but also of people, thus promising a more vibrant socio-economic exchange,” Judan said.

Trade in goods

The M/V Super Shuttle Roro 12 which is operated by the Cebu-based company Asia Marine Transport Corp., has an initial capacity of 500 TEU, voyaging once every week.

Mindanao products such as fresh fruits, poultry, meat, coffee blends, fishing supplies, and synthetics were identified for export to Indonesia. On the other hand, Bitung will export coconut, copra, corn, high value crops, soya products, coffee beans, sugar, cement, and charcoal to Mindanao.

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