IN AN attempt to further support the Davao-Gensan-Bitung Roro route that is currently noted to be under “jeopardy”, local Indonesian entrepreneurs have initiated sail of a Gloria 28 vessel with a smaller capacity as a temporary alternative to the Super Shuttle Roro 12.

Consul General of the Indonesian Consulate in Davao City Berlian Napitupulu said Gloria 28 vessel had already started sailing last October 24 to 29 from Sta. Ana port, Davao to Manado, Bitung, and North Sulawesi and vice versa bringing along with it agricultural products from Indonesia and furniture, plywood, Coca-cola items, and Christmas decorations from the Philippines. He added they target to sail for the second batch by the last week of November.

“Cost is really a challenge because the previous Roro is very big. Since this is the beginning, let’s focus on the visible, effective, and efficient. Once there is enough load and quantity, probably, we would need a bigger one,” said Napitupulu.

Gloria 28 has a capacity of only about 256 tons and travels from Sta. Ana port, Davao then to Manado, Bitung, and North Sulawesi depending on where the boarded cargoes are needed and are previously negotiated to be unloaded. When asked if a similar initiative will be done in General Santos City as well as it is part of the original route of Super Shuttle Roro 12, Napitupulu said it would depend still on the commodity needed to be imported and exported but clarified that General Santos can very well be a part of the alternative initiative as well.

He said this initiative is to keep the route alive as the bigger vessel has not been sailing as regularly due to its high requirement of cargo quantity that cannot be met always. He added it is better to have a smaller, more frequent vessel like the one they have initiated than a bigger one that just occasionally sails.

Napitupulu assured that the entrepreneurs still make profit despite the smaller capacities they export.

“We need to strengthen business relation between Manado and North Sulawesi. That’s part of the mission,” said Napitupulu when asked why such an initiative was created. The strengthening of the relationship between Manado and North Sulawesi also follows the original plan which is to sustain the existing Davao-Gensan-Bitung route through a smaller-loaded vessel.

In a statement by North Sulawesi Industry and Trade Agency Head Jenny Karouw published at Swara Manado News, the next batch of Gloria 28 will bring a variety of electronic goods, decorative lights included.