Davao-Bitung sea route to start in June: exec

THE Davao City-General Santos City-Tahuna-Bitung sea route, a private-led trade sea route, is set to start in June, an official said.

Romeo Montenegro, Mindanao Development Authority (Minda) director of investment promotions and public affairs, on Thursday said MV Beverly of Indonesian-based shipping line PT Kanaka will depart from Bitung on June 13 then will dock in General Santos City on June 14, en route to Davao City on June 16.

An agreement to operationalize the route was sealed on April 11 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. (DCCCII).

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

Montenegro said MV Beverly has a capacity of 120 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs). He said some of the products that they have initially listed for shipping are: meat products, high value crops, fruits, abaca, coffee beans, fishing supplies, corn feeds, and construction materials like lumber and cement.

"We will be meeting soon with the traders to finalize who is exporting or importing products and what the products are," he said.

Montenegro said they have yet to finalize the number of traders who will utilize the sea trade route.

He said if the trade route will be a success, they might increase the number of ships serving the route or the trips the ship will take.

Dr. Malou Monteverde, DCCCII past president and one of the primary components of the sea route said in a statement that the route is seen to be "one of the cheapest and fastest ways to transport goods from Mindanao to Indonesia, and vice versa."

The route is also seen "to significantly increase trade and economic relations not just between the two countries, but in the entire Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-Eaga).
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