CONVENTIONAL and specialized vessel for the Davao-General Santos-Bitung, Indonesia (DGB) shipping route is estimated to arrive in Kudos Port in Davao City next week.
“[The vessel arrival] is an indication of renewed efforts to ensure connectivity between the Philippines, Mindanao, North Sulawesi, Indonesia and other parts of Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA),” Mindanao Development Authority (Minda) deputy executive director Romeo Montenegro said during Wednesday’s Habi at Kape media forum, July 3.
The vessel type is M/V Baltic Summer utilized now by Reefer Express Line, a Philippine-registered vessel, which has a container intake of 240 Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs), relatively smaller than Asian Marine Transport (AMT’s) previous 500 TEUs vessel.
Reefer Express will operate twice a month and has opted to maximize their market presence in BIMP-EAGA with the inclusion of other areas in Labuan, Malaysia; Sepanggar, Kota kinabalu; and Ternate, Indonesia as part of the route schedule.
Freight cost is USD 2,200 per TEU round-trip.
“We don’t expect yet a big ceremonial event to happen during this voyage or arrival. That's being planned on its third or fourth voyage, especially when load shall have picked up and traders opting to use the service or route,” Montenegro said in a separate interview.
Last month, the BIMP-EAGA Summit in Bangkok, Thailand included the directive on the DGB shipping route in the goal to create a closer collaboration of countries involved through trading activities.
Minda also said the establishment of the Davao-Manado air linkage will be supportive of the DGB shipping route since it is conventional and does not have passenger component so direct air connectivity is required for travelling businessmen who wish to connect with counterparts in Manado and North Sulawesi.
The DGB sea trade route was launched on April 2017 but had only two trips. It was a struggle for traders to fill the cargo load requirement of the 500 20-foot equivalent (TEU) Super Shuttle Roro 12 of Asia Marine. It was then swapped out with a much smaller Gloria 28 vessel with a capacity of only 256 tons. However, that too was not sustained, thus, the conventional vessel of Reefer Express.