To improve connectivity and boost international trade, the ASEAN RoRo will be launched on 30 April 2017 in Davao City. The maiden voyage send-off ceremony will be led by President Duterte and Indonesian President Widodo.
The new RoRo route will sail to Davao-General Santos-Bitung, Indonesia (D-G-B), a more cost and time-efficient alternative to the usual Manila-Jakarta-Bitung route. It is expected to lessen the cost of shipping by almost US$1,500 per Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit (TEU). It will also shorten the shipping time from three-five weeks to only one day and a half of sailing plus port stay.The route is part of the ASEAN RoRo Initiative. It aims to enhance maritime connectivity in ASEAN and maximize the use of regional sea lanes. It is expected to increase trade between Mindanao and the Sulawesi provinces in Indonesia. There will be greater access for local businessmen to engage in international trade, as well as stimulate other areas of development such as joint tourism promotion, establishment of direct linkages, and increase in investment inflows, among others.
During the first ASEAN RoRo Business Forum last February 24, at SMX Convention, SM Lanang, Assistant Secretary Fernando Juan Perez of the Department of Transportation(DOTr)encourages businessmen to make use of this connectivity to sustain its operations He said, “Hopefully the business sector would see that this trade route is a gold mine. There’s so much opportunities here… The Philippines should take advantage of this because Indonesia will definitely take advantage of this.” Perez is also the chairperson of the Philippine Interagency Task Force on Asean Roro.
The maiden voyage will be done by M/V Super Shuttle Roro 14 of Asian Marine Transport Corporation. A weekly shipping schedule is planned.
This connectivity is one of the advocacies pursued by the Export Development Council.