“Ngayong April 30, mismong si President Duterte at nag-confirm na rin po si President Widodo ng Indonesia ang magla-launch,” DTI Assistant Secretary Arturo Boncato Jr. said in a press conference on Thursday.
The ferry service, plying Davao City and General Santos, will connect Mindanao to Bitung and Manado in Indonesia.
Operated by the Asian Marine Transport Corporation, the M/V Super Shuttle RoRo 12 will provide a faster and cheaper route for trading goods among the East ASEAN Growth Area (EAGA)’s key cities.
Secretary Datu Abul Khayr Alonto, chairman of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) on Friday, noted how crucial the sea linkage is between EAGA sub-regions in strengthening trade relations with its members.
The opening of the new route will help the Philippines and Indonesia further develop its agribusiness, tourism, education, among others.
“We are calling on and encouraging key industry and business players and traders to participate in this initiative and to take advantage of the business opportunities and benefits that this new route will provide,” Alonto said.
To be more cost and time efficient
The Davao-GenSan-Bitun route is reported to be more cost and time-efficient since it would only take one day and a half to ship goods, excluding port stay. It usually takes three to five weeks to transport products from the Philippines to Indonesia.
Goods for export to Indonesia include animal feeds, fertilizer, construction materials, ice cream products, poultry (halal), fresh fruits and synthetics while those for import are matured coconut, copra, corn, feed ingredients, lumber, cement, high value crops, vegetables, among others.
Earlier, Widodo arrived in Manila for the 30th Association of the South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Leaders’ Summit.
Duterte welcomed the Indonesian president at Malacañang where the two leaders had a bilateral meeting.
In a joint briefing, Duterte expressed pleasure in the signing of agreements on agricultural cooperation and the Establishment of Sea Connectivity between Davao and General Santos and Bitung in Indonesia.
“This will facilitate trade and movement of goods. This deserves full support from both our governments,” Duterte said.
Widodo said he was also pleased with the agreements, adding that the Philippines is a good friend and is an important partner of Indonesia.
Both presidents were at the Manila Hotel to witness the signing of the agreements. (T/RS5/RS1)
Mi’raj Ilamic News Agency (MINA)