CEBU-BASED Trans-Asia Shipping Lines Inc. has earmarked P2 billion for the acquisition and rehabilitation of new and existing vessels.
Of the amount, P700 million was spent to acquire a new vessel, MV Trans Asia 1, the biggest so far under the shipping lines’ fleet of vessels.
M/V Trans Asia 1 was unveiled last Friday. It will soon serve the Cebu–Cagayan de Oro–Cebu route. It has a carrying capacity of 1,023 passengers.
Originally built in France, this cargo-passenger vessel has a gross registered tonnage of 11,457 tons, an overall length of 116.07 meters, a breadth of 21.00 meters, and a depth of 12.90 meters. It has two engines and is designed to sail at a speed of 15.0 knots.
The vessel is also equipped with modern equipment and advanced safety features in compliance with international shipping standards.
In the next couple of months, Trans-Asia will also be launching two 500 TEUs cargo freighter vessels – MV Trans-Asia 16 and MV Trans-Asia 17.
MV Trans-Asia 16 will be serving the Cebu–Manila–Cebu route, while MV Trans-Asia 17 will be plying the Manila–Davao–Manila route.
Under renovation are roro-passenger vessel MV Trans-Asia 18, and cargo freighter MV Trans-Asia 15.
Pinky Sy, Trans-Asia vice president for sales and marketing, in an interview on Friday, said the launch of MV Trans-Asia 1 marks the company’s bolder investments in the country’s shipping industry.
She said the company’s thrust is to deploy more vessels that would connect the island economies and bring trade and tourism activities into these areas.
In its Vision 20/20 program, Trans Asia aims to launch 10 new vessels and add 10 new domestic ports of operations. This will bring the company’s fleet to 20 vessels and 20 ports of call in two years.
“We see a lot of potential in the economic developments, especially in the Visayas and Mindanao regions,” said Trans-Asia president and CEO Arthur Kenneth Sy, in a statement.
At present, the company maintains 15 vessels, of which seven are roro-passenger vessels while the rest are cargo freighter vessels. It has 11 ports of call, mostly in the Visayas-Mindanao area.
Sy said the addition of MV Trans Asia 1 is the company’s initial step to complying with the fleet modernization program of the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina).
“There would be a lot more (new vessels) for next year as we improve the connectivity of our island economies,” said Sy.
Besides the advanced safety features, Sy said they have also put high emphasis on helping Filipino maritime students harness their knowledge and skills in the shipping industry.
A student lecture room, conference facility, and mess hall were all integrated in the overall layout of MV Trans Asia 1 for students required to undergo maritime immersion onboard.
“This is in support of CHED’s program for senior high school students and for vessel familiarization tours,” said Sy, adding that they are open for tie-ups with different schools and universities offering maritime and other shipping related programs.
Other features of the new vessel include expanded room options, spa and salon, a convenience store, a canteen, a restaurant, a KTV room and a clinic.
Trans Asia is now being managed by Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corp. owned by Davao businessman Dennis Uy. The purchase of the company’s entire outstanding shares of stocks in 2016 also included its four subsidiaries.