New economic and trade opportunities are in sight with the opening of the Davao-General Santos-Bitung (D-G-B) Shipping Service, which is one of the target priorities for the Philippines Chairmanship of the ASEAN in 2017.
Philippine Ambassador to Indonesia Maria Lumen B. Isleta and members of the Philippines and Indonesia Inter-Agency Task Force for the Operationalization of the D-G-B Roll-on/Roll-off (RoRo) Route gathered in Jakarta on Jan 17, 2017, to discuss preparations for the maiden voyage of the RoRo, which will connect Davao and General Santos City to Bitung in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, the Philippine embassy said in a statement here on Thursday.
The D-G-B RoRo Route under the ASEAN RoRo Initiative aims to enhance maritime connectivity in ASEAN and maximize the use of regional sea lanes.
The opening of the route is a more cost and time-efficient alternative to the usual Manila-Jakarta-Bitung route, which would take about three to five weeks of shipping time.
In contrast, direct shipping through the D-G-B route will take only one day and a half of sailing (excluding port stay).
The route is also expected to spur trade between Mindanao and the Sulawesi provinces in Indonesia. It is also expected to provide 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.
On Jan 18, Isleta and leaders of the RoRo project task force paid a visit to Manado and met with North Sulawesi Governor Olly Dondokambey to discuss the maiden voyage of the RoRo.
Meanwhile, The Philippine News Agency (PNA) reported that Philippines President Rodrigo R. Duterte and Indonesian President Joko Widodo will launch the ASEAN RoRo Project on April 28, 2017.