DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 22 Nov) – A smaller cargo ship with about half the capacity of the 500-TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) M/V Super Shuttle RORO 12 has been deployed temporarily to serve the new sea route between Mindanao and Indonesia, Indonesian Consul General Berlian Napitupulu said Wednesday.
But Napitupulu told the “Wednesdays at Habi at Kape” forum at the Abreeza Mall that the 256-TEU KM Gloria 28, owned by a Manado-based shipping company, skips General Santos City and ships directly from the Sta. Ana Pier in Davao City to Bitung via Tahuna in North Sulawesi due to lack of load factor.
Last April 30, the Davao-General Santos-Bitung line was opened, with President Rodrigo R. Duterte and Indonesian President Joko Widodo leading the ceremony. It was initially serviced by M/V Super Shuttle RORO 12, owned by Cebu-based Asian Marine Transport Corp.
Napitupulu said the first fleet of the KM Gloria 28 had been loaded at least half of its full capacity in October. It’s scheduled to return this month.
But Napitupulu said the M/V Super Shuttle RORO 12 would be tapped once there is enough cargo load.
The cargo from Mindanao included agricultural products and decorative lights while products from Indonesia included furniture and some agricultural products, he said.
The consul general said business missions have been held between the two countries to promote the new sea route.
But Napitupulu said each side needs to have a consolidator to collect information on the available products that can be exchanged “because this is totally private-driven.”
“After our visit at Davao City Chamber of Commerce, I said, ‘You have to assign somebody to be the consolidator, aggregator, whatever the name is – somebody has to aggregate and collect all these potentials. Price is very important for businessmen, cost is a determinant factor,” he said.
Products that can be exported to Indonesia include animal feeds, aqua products, charcoal, coffee beans, construction materials, copra, feed ingredients, fertilizers, food and beverages, fresh fruits, ice cream products, meat, peanuts, poultry (halal), soya, sugar, and synthetics.
He hopes the volume will eventually increase because more volume makes the shipping cost a lot cheaper.
The consul general said it is not easy to match buyers from Indonesia and Mindanao but he said that there is a positive trend among the traders from both sides.
“Our leaders agreed to strengthen relations and the businessmen as well. As always, it takes time … to begin a new effort,” he said.
To promote and open a new market, Napitupulu said they are organizing a three-day 1st Indonesia Fashion Expo (IFE) 2017 at the Abreeza Mall of Davao from November 24 to 26 that will highlight some Indonesian products that can be sold in the Philippines, including clothing products, bags, shoes, and fashion accessories.
Napitupulu said the staging of the expo is part of their effort to promote the economic partnership between the Philippines and Indonesia.
It will include one-on-one business matching, with music and cultural performances and tourism promotion activities on the sidelines. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)