Indons want RoRo rates reduced

INDONESIAN traders have clamored for the reduction of the roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) service shipping rate which is at $700 per twenty-footer equivalent unit (TEU).

“The challenge is about the price. They found using the RoRo expensive,” said Indonesian Consul General Berlian Napitupulu during the press conference on the 1st Indonesia Manufactured Products Expo at Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia in Ecoland.

The company serving the sea route, Asian Marine Transport Corp. (AMTC), has yet to have its second voyage after the launch on April 30, said Napitupulu. The sea route is between Davao and General Santos cities in Mindanao and Bitung in Indonesia.

The service was inaugurated by both President Rodrigo Duterte and Indonesian President Joko Widodo in Davao City.

Napitupulu said it would be best for the company to use smaller vessel so it could recoup its investments as well. The company used its 500-TEU capacity M/V Super Shuttle RoRo 12 during its maiden voyage, spending P10 million for the trip alone.

Napitupulu said there was no company from Indonesia that was able to utilize it during the maiden voyage. “When the RoRo came (early last month), they (the Indonesian businesses) were not ready as they were still consolidating the products. Well, both sides actually. Luckily, for your side (Philippines), there is one company,” he said.

The AMTC reported that only Aboitiz-led Pilmico utilized the sea link during the maiden voyage.

Officials of the company did not reply on the issue.

To make the sea route sustainable, Napitupulu said a coordination meeting was conducted on Wednesday in Manado to consolidate what products should be loaded. He said they needed to select as not all commodities would be exported.

While they are working on lifting some regulations, he said among those that were only allowed include food products, electronics, fresh fruits and vegetables.

He said they also tackled with Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio the need to help raise the awareness about the new sea connectivity.

During the maiden voyage, Kim Pancho, branch manager of AMTC-Davao, said the vessel was loaded with five TEUs that contained Pilmico’s flour, which represented 1% out of their 500-TEU capacity vessel. The company, he said, also loaded empty containers in the vessel.

Arturo Milan, adviser for Mindanao of Aboitiz Equity Ventures, said their company’s subsidiary Pilmico was able to contract a company based in Indonesia that bought its flour when their products arrived via AMTC’s vessel early last month.

“Definitely, Pilmico will continue to use it for future shipments though we still do not know as to when would be the next voyage,” Milan said. (By Kristianne M. Fusilero)

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