Last week, Indonesia and the Philippines witnessed the opening of the newly-launched Davao City-General Santos City-Bitung, Indonesia by a Roll-on Roll-off (Roro) service. The new route is seen as a fresh trade and relations opportunity for regions outside of the capital cities of the Philippines and Indonesia and helps to connect two neighbouring islands, the Mindanao with Sulawesi.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte led the launching of the new shipping route on Sunday, April 30, at the Kudos Port in Sasa, Davao City. The shipping route is expected to lessen the travel time from three to five weeks down to only one and a half days to two days since traders here would no longer need to pass through Manila.
Aside from the trade development that the two countries will benefit from, Duterte also said the new shipping route will open doors for other industries as well.
“With the opening of new ports and exploring possible routes, we will stimulate trade, tourism, other areas of development among Asean member states. This will significantly reduce the shipping time of the transported goods to the usual five weeks to just two to three days and lower the cost of transportation, drive competition, attract new players, and increase demand for jobs,” Duterte said.
The Filipino President added that the new route will not only strengthen intra-regional maritime connectivity among Asean members, it will also introduce new opportunities for trade expansions for areas located in the outer regions.
For his part, Widodo said the centre of trade relations for Indonesia had been at Java and Jakarta and that this route is a chance for people in the outer region to have opportunities that people from the capital cities have as well. “President Duterte and I sincerely believe that the people in the outer region are just as smart, are just as strong, and are just as resourceful as the rich people in the capital cities. They only need one thing, and that is to be given a chance. I hope that this new Roro service between Davao, General Santos, and North Sulawesi will present new opportunities that will force the new business forward,” said Widodo.
Duterte then urged private sector to take advantage of this new opportunity to contribute to the sustainability of the entire regional shipping network.
(Source: SunStar Philippines)