BOHOL-BASED Lite Shipping Corp. has acquired three new vessels for this year amounting to at least $20 million.
Lite Ferry 88 is the first of three international class vessels acquired by the company. This is the biggest roll-on-roll-off (RoRo) catamaran passenger ferry that is set to sail four times daily between Cebu and Tubigon within this month or by April 1.
The 70-meter long Lite Ferry 5 and the 72-meter Lite Ferry 9 meters, are due for delivery this October. These three vessels are classified by the International Association of Classification Society (IACS).
Lucio Lim Jr., president of Lite Shipping Corp., during the Lite Ferry 88 media preview on Wednesday, said the company’s hefty investment is meant to elevate the standards of the sea transport industry.
Lite Ferry 88 is said to be the only RoRo passenger catamaran ferry in the country today classed by Lloyd’s Register of Shipping in London, the world’s oldest and premier ship classification society.
The mid-speed RoRo catamaran ferry can travel at a speed of 16 knots on average and a maximum speed of 18 knots. It has a length of 60 meters and width of 20 meters.
It can carry 352 passengers and 12 units of 10-wheeler trucks plus 20 light vehicles.
Lite Ferry 88 was aquired from Sealease Limited of Hong Kong and upgraded by the Sea Transport Solutions of Australia for its passenger accommodation and vessel amenities. The vessel replaced Lite Ferry 2, which used to serve the Cebu-Tubigon route.
Jonathan Imboy, the company’s vice president for ship management, said the new vessel is ready for operation and that they are working on the vessel’s registration with Marina.
“As soon as we get Marina’s go signal, we hope to sail before Holy Week or the latest April 1,” said Imboy.
Lite Ferry 88 will sail four times daily from Cebu to Tubigon. It will leave Pier 3 at 7 a.m, 1 p.m, 7 p.m and 1 a.m. It departs Tubigon port at 4 a.m., 10 a.m., 4 p.m., and 10 p.m.
Tubigon’s municipal port is the second largest and busiest port in Bohol. It is served by six vessels and two fast crafts with a total of 20 trips daily to Cebu City.
Lite Shipping Corp. operates 25 RoRo-passenger ferries in Visayas and Mindanao with 22 ports of call in Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor, Negros, Samar, Leyte and Northern Mindanao.
Besides acquiring new vessels, Lim also announced that they plan to open two more routes in the Visayas connecting to Mindanao.
Engineer Samuel Lim, one of the board members of Marina, lauded Lite Shippings’ acquisition of new vessels, saying this would provide better service to the public and upgrade the facilities of the sea transport industry.
More RoRo ports will be constructed this year, according to the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA). A report said the project would cost at least P7 billion.