The first formal voyage will commence on April 30 from Kudos Port in Sasa, Davao City passing the General Santos International Port and the final port of destination in Bitung, Manado, Indonesia and back for three days travel time.
De Guzman said they are optimistic at this new partnership with government and the private sector and wished that such sea linkage will be sustained.
He said the government has to really put hard work on sustaining this linkage through collaboration between the private sector and concerned government agencies like the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
“The only thing that will stop us from operating is when they no longer see the support of the government,” he said, adding that they were excited with the new route because it would open up to more international markets.
The route will be serviced by Super Shuttle RORO owned by Asian Marine Transport Corporation with a capacity of 100 TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit).
DOTr assistant secretary for Maritime Fernando Juan Perez said the preparations were going smoothly, including the inspection conducted in the ports of General Santos and Bitung. He said the improvement at Kudos Port in Davao City would be finished by March 20.
Perez is also the chairperson of the Philippine Inter-agency Task Force on Asean Roro. He said it was the shipping line choice to use the private port in Davao because they had been using this port long before.
Perez urged the business sector to take advantage of this route saying, this route could bring their products to other foreign markets in the world.
He also said that there was a big difference in terms of cost and time using this new route with only USD0/TEU for 1.5 days compared to the current route of Davao-Manila-Jakarta-Bitung route at USD,200/TEU for 3 to 5 weeks.
DTI assistant secretary Art Boncato, who is also the Philippine government senior official representative to the BIMP-EAGA said, “This is a major milestone as we have completed the loop and the project was the outcome of the Asean Blueprint 2025, the Master Plan on Asean Connectivity, and the BIMP-EAGA Vision 2025.
The connectivity, he said, would make Davao-GenSan-Bitung as the transshipment point to the EAGA (East Asean Growth Area) set to benefit Filipino producers, especially Mindanao and Palawan grow their businesses and link their markets in Bitung and the rest of Indonesia and vice versa.
“The connection is going to be historic in terms of transshipment because this will cut the time in terms of moving goods from certain parts of the Philippines to parts of Indonesia and outside,” he said.
Boncato added that traders could move products from the Philippines to Indonesia, China and the rest of Asia and the world because it is very strategic and great incentives for the businesses to grow their markets.
Trades are also that their permits and licenses are being taken cared by the shipping company.