DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 13 July) – The resumption of the “expanded” Mindanao-North Sulawesi shipping linkage will encourage more trading activities between these areas, the OIC chair of the Mindanao Development Authority, Nathaniel Dalumpines, said.
The MV Baltic Summer, a 290-TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) vessel owned by Manila-based Reefer Express Lines, arrived around 1 p.m. at the Kudos Port, Sasa, this city on Friday or 26 days after it left Ho Chi Minh port in Vietnam last June 16.
The resumption of the operation of the shipping service came more than two years after the 500-TEU M/V Super Shuttle RORO 12, owned by Cebu-based Asian Marine Transport Corp., ceased operation immediately after its maiden voyage from Davao, to General Santos City, and to Bitung, Indonesia (D/GB) apparently due to lack of cargo.
That shipping route was launched by President Rodrigo R. Duterte and Indonesian President Joko Widodo on April 30, 2017.
Dalumpines said both countries vowed continue to work to ensure a sufficient cargo load to sustain the operation of the new route service, with extended links to Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam and Labuan in Malaysia.
“I hope this resumption of the route spurs on more trading activities between our local entrepreneurs and their Indonesian counterparts. I am grateful for the strong support that the shipping service has so far gained from the government and private sector of Indonesia,” he said.
The MV Baltic Summer arrived on the opening day of the three-day “Wonderful Indonesia: Tourism, Food, and Trade Expo 2019” organized by the Consulate General of Indonesia at the SM Lanang Premier.
The expo aims to strengthen the business ties between the two cities, Indonesian Consulate General Dicky Fabrian said in an interview.
Last July 11, key local officials and Mindanawon business leaders met for a matching session with Indonesian businessmen at the Marco Polo Hotel Davao to discuss opportunities to boost the bilateral trade and economic relations.
Fabrian said around 20 exhibitors consisting of tour operators, producers of authentic Indonesia food and delicacies, and manufacturers of coffee, biscuits, chips, wafer, instant noodles, chocolate drinks, snacks, herbal drinks and food supplements participated in the expo.
He said the expo was part of the efforts of the Indonesian government to sustain the expanded sea connectivity in Brunei Darussalam Indonesia Malaysia and Philippines East Asian Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), a 25-year old sub-regional economic cooperation initiative in Southeast Asia designed to spur economic development in the lagging sub-economies.
He said some of the Indonesian food manufacturers found potential buyers from Mindanao during the session to distribute their goods in the local market.
“I heard that they found some distributors. The deal is on. Because normally the goods are coming through Manila but they are penetrating the market here through south of the Philippines. Most of them have the potential buyers from here,” he said.
In a briefer released by the Indonesian Consulate, the total trade between Indonesia and the Philippines grew by 16.69% from 2014 to 2018. Indonesia emerged as the 14th top export market of the Philippines and 6th top supplier of imported goods.
The countries also agreed to seek ways to eliminate tariff and non-tariff trade barriers, especially in agricultural and food products. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)