New sea route vital for Mindanao’s connectivity with Asean members

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THE Davao City-General Santos City-Tahuna-Bitung sea route is vital in linking up Mindanao to the economic sub-region and to rest of Asean members.

“We are excited to learn that Mindanao and North Sulawesi have finally completed their sea linkage through the Davao-General Santos-Tahuna-Bitung shipping services. This link will contribute to strengthening physical connectivities within Asean countries, being part of the Master Plan on Asean Connectivity or MPAC,” said former President Fidel V. Ramos in his keynote message during the 2nd Brunei, Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-Eaga) and Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand – Growth Triangle Business Leaders Conference Thursday last week at the SMX Convention Center.

The private sector-led sea route was established after an agreement was signed 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. on April 11, 2014.

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

The sea route will be serviced by MV Beverly of Indonesian-based shipping line PT Kanaka and has a capacity of some 120 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

During the Inclusive Business Partners meeting at the Seda Hotel in September this year, Romeo Montenegro, Mindanao Development Authority (Minda) director of investment promotions and public affairs, previously said that the sea route will strengthen the connectivity of Mindanao to the Asean.

He pointed out that the sea route is shorter compared to other routes connecting the country and Indonesia. For example, the Bitung-Surabaya-Jakarta-Manila will take five weeks as compared to Davao/Gensan-Bitung, which is only three days.

“As this maritime connectivity becomes a functional route, it will surely enhance the Asean port system. Let us remember, 16 of the 47 Asean priority ports are in Eaga, and the opening of this sea route will bridge archipelagic sub-regional areas with mainland Asean,” said Ramos.

Source: Sun Star