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New ferry route to strengthen PH-Indonesia trade relations

(CNN Philippines, April 28) — Indonesian President Joko Widodo and President Rodrigo Duterte will launch on Sunday a trade ferry servicing Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

The Davao City-General Santos-Betung, Indonesia roll on-roll off (ro-ro) route, will provide a faster and cheaper way to trade goods within the growth area.

In a press briefing at the 30th ASEAN summit Friday, Mindanao Development Authority Assistant Secretary Romeo Montenegro said the ro-ro route will strengthen trade among the four countries comprising the East ASEAN Growth Area (EAGA).

"Expect this to be already setting the tone for a much increased trade movement and movement of commodities not only between Mindanao and the North Sulawesi part of Indonesia but the larger economic spectrum, where we also look at this route as a possible transshipment of products that are coming from Luzon, or other countries that are penetrating North Sulawesi, Indonesia," Montenegro said.

M/V Super Shuttle RoRo 12, operated by the Asian Marine Transport Corporation, will provide the weekly shipping service.

With a capacity of 500 twenty foot equivalent units, the vessel will carry imported mature coconut, copra, and other high value crops, as well as exported animal feeds, fertilizer, and halal poultry.

Trade Assistant Secretary Arturo Boncato said the usual Manila to Jakarta to Bitung route takes three to five weeks of shipping time. The direct shipping through the Davao-GenSan-Bitung route takes a day and a half.

On the launch of the ferry service, Boncato said that the Coast Guard and Philippine Navy will be present to escort the vessel throughout the trip amid threats from bandits and pirates in the area.

The route is part of the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines-EAGA vision for 2025, with the goal to develop the sub-region in seven to 10 years.

"It's not just a matter of opening a route and having a vessel go, it's also about putting harmonizing trade policies," Montenegro said.

New ferry route to strengthen PH-Indonesia trade relations New ferry route to strengthen PH-Indonesia trade relations Reviewed by AsianPolicy.Press on 7:36:00 AM Rating: 5

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