Davao/GSC-Indonesia sea route to start in October

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Thursday, August 21, 2014


THE commercial operation of the Davao City-General Santos City-Tahuna-Bitung sea route is set to start in October, an official said.

But this will be officially launched in September when the shipping company involved start the marketing and promotion of the sea route.

Rey L. Billena, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) regional governor for Southwestern Mindanao, announced in Wednesday's opening of the National Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Summit at SMX Convention Center, SM Lanang that the sea route will start on October 1, 2014 while its marketing and promotion will kick off in September.

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He said the shipping vessel, MV Beverly of Indonesian-based shipping line PT Kanaka, will arrive in General Santos on August 31 for the launch of the route the following day.

"The launching [of the sea route] in General Santos will be on September 1 while the launching in Davao City will be on September 5," he said.

During the launch, they will be releasing adverting materials that will announce the start of bookings for the new route.

At present, Billena said not less than 30 traders and businesses from General Santos City and Davao City have shown interest in using the sea route for trading with their counterparts in Indonesia.

He said the sea route will offer a much more affordable and a faster sea route to traders.

Billena said the shipping rate is at $550 per 20 footer container. Also the travel time as compared to the main trade sea routes is down to eight days from 23 days.

He said from Bitung to General Santos to China, logistics cost will only be roughly around $1,300 as compared to the Bitung to Jakarta to China via Singapore wherein the trader will spend roughly around $2,800.

To date, products that will be exchanged between Indonesian and Mindanaoan traders are agricultural products and construction materials.

However, Billena pointed out that there is still the need to improve the infrastructure of the ports of Davao City and General Santos City even though both ports are accepting international shipments.

He said one of the facilities the port needs are cranes that will transport containers from the ship to the dock. He said there are cranes present in both ports but only have limited capacity.

Billena said Bitung, which is a much smaller town as compared to Davao City and General Santos City, on the other hand, has facilities and equipments that are much more advanced.

He said a huge amount of investment is needed to improve the ports of Davao City and General Santos City. A crane that will transport containers from the ship to the dock will cost around P15 million each.

Economically, Billena said the sea route will have strong economic impacts to not only Davao City and General Santos City but also to its neighboring towns and cities.

"It will further enhance the trade and commerce exchanges and when there are exchanges in trade and commerce, there is inclusive growth, additional jobs, processes, and companies. It has a multiplier effect," he said.

The sea route was established after an agreement by PT Kanaka, North Minahasa Chamber of Commerce of Indonesia, Philippine-based cargo company ARREE Freight Express, and the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. on April 11.

PT Kanaka will provide the shipping services while ARREE Freight Express "will handle the cargo consolidation requirements for the shipping route."

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 22, 2014.

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