Tawi-tawi to Sandakan sea link to open

THE SEA connectivity from Tawi-Tawi to Sandakan in Malaysia will be launched this quarter to boost links within the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines-East Asean Growth (Bimp-Eaga).

Jonathan C. Miral, head of international relations division of Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), said yesterday in Wednesdays @ Habi at Kape in Abreeza Mall that the new route would be serviced by Zamboanga-based company Aleson Shipping Lines Inc.

The company has already been servicing Sandakan from Zamboanga City since 1994.

“The firm noted a huge demand on the trade of goods especially merchandise as most of the locals would opt to purchase in Malaysia as goods are cheaper than those sold in their locality. This prompted them to pursue the new route,” Miral said.

A cargo vessel, which can carry up to 200 20-footer container vans, will be used in the Tawi-Tawi-Sandakan sea link.

In preparation for the launch of the new route, officials of MinDA and Department of Tourism have inspected Bongao Port in Tawi-Tawi to ensure the port’s readiness for the sea connectivity.

“We are focusing on transport linkages because it is only our country, which is separated by sea in Bimp-Eaga. Other countries in the sub-region can be easily accessed by land,” Miral said.

Within Bimp-Eaga, new sea links will be opened, such as from Buliluyan, Palawan to Kudat in Malaysia next month. The connectivity would be serviced by Archipelago Philippine Ferries Corp. via its FastCat that can carry 200 passengers.

The other existing routes in the sub-region are Zamboanga to Sandakan and Davao to Bitung in Indonesia. The Davao-Bitung route, which was launched last year, is serviced by KM Gloria, an Indonesia-based shipping company. (KMF)

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