The recent launch of a new shipping route between General Santos-Davao City and Bitung North Sulawesi tri-city initiative will provide new opportunities to traders, particularly in both Southern Philippines and Northern Sulawesi in Indonesia. The route is expected to reduce 60% of the transport cost per TCU compared with the traditional shipping route passing through Manila.
M/V Super Shuttle RORO 12 finally made her inaugural voyage to North Sulawesi Indonesia, loading containers of flours that will be exported to the ASEAN's most populous country. The exported goods were owned by Pilmico Good, Inc - a Mindanao-based manufacturing company.
RORO is the acronym of Roll on Roll Off. RORO refers to a ship built in such a way that vehicles can drive directly on and off designed for inter islands.
Traditional shipping to Indonesia from Davao would normally cost USD 2,224 per TEU via Davao-Manila-Jakarta-Bitung, but the new route will cut down TEU cost to USD 693. TEU stands for Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit, a measurement of a 20 foot and 20 foot long container.
The commercial vessel has capacity of 100 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). The capacity is already enough to cater to a weekly trading of goods and services in the General Santos-Davao-North Sulawesi shipping route.
Kim Pancho, Davao branch manager of Asian Marine Transport Corp, the company that operates Super Shuttle RORO, was quoted by Mindanews, an online media saying that more companies in Southern Philippines have signified to shift their goods and products to Indonesia. Earlier, the Department of Trade and Industry also reported that Mindanao goods, that have strong potentials to be shipped to Indonesia, are animal feeds, fertilizer, construction materials, ice cream products, poultry (halal), fresh fruits, and synthetics.
DTI Undersecretary, Nora Terrado, was quoted earlier by the Philippine Star saying that these developments in the sub-region complement the ongoing regional efforts towards realising the ASEAN Economic Community 2025. "It will help increase economic cooperation and will pave way for the promotion of Philippine products especially those coming from the Mindanao region," Terrado earlier told the ASEAN press.
What is BIMP-EAGA?
Indonesia and the Philippines are both members of the BIMP-EAGA or the Brunei-Indoensia-Malaysia-Phippines-East Asean Growth Area, a sub region of ASEAN that was organised in 1994. The four-member group was conceptualised to accelerate economic development in areas that are geographically distant from their national capitals, yet in strategic proximity to each other, in one of the world's most resource-rich regions that includes the Heart of Borneo and Sulu-Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion.