A delegation from the Regional Container Line (RCL), headed by its Mr. Abdul Razak Bin Atan (Regional Head of South East Asia) visited Cotabato City in February to assess the potential trade/cargo traffic to/from BARMM and its environs with the objective of establishing a shipping route between Singapore and Cotabato City. This effort is part of RCL’s initiative of expanding its service to the Philippines by looking at opportunities in Mindanao especially in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
BARMM Minister Paisalin Tago welcomed the RCL delegation and expressed his support to the potential establishment of Singapore-Cotabato (Polloc) shipping route. He underscored the economic benefits it will bring about to the growth and development of BARMM and Mindanao. Director-General Lai Maniri of the BARMM Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) highlighted the importance of intra-BARMM connectivity (with the planned launch of the Cotabato-Basilan RORO shipping service on April 25, 2023 and its potential interface with the potential Singapore-Cotabato shipping route. This maritime connectivity initiative is part of the ongoing BARMM Transport Logistics Roadmap being prepared by MOTC and supported by the USAID Regulatory Reform Support Program for National Development (RESPOND).
RCL is a Thai-based regional shipping line that operates in the Asian region. In the Philippines, RCL calls at the Ports of Manila, Batangas, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, General Santos. In November last year, RCL started its regular call in Zamboanga. The service rotation covers the port of Cebu – Cagayan – Zamboanga – Bintulu – Singapore. In a short span of two months, MV Danu Bhum already made six shipcalls (service trips) to the Port of Zamboanga.
RCL met with various government and business leaders in Cotabato City during its 3-day visit. RCL expressed strong interest in coming to BARMM. The project aims to have greater connectivity with ASEAN particularly BIMP-EAGA as a result of this continuous trade advocacies. PKC