Chamber sets trade mission to Manado

The Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc., the Mindanao Development Authority (Minda) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) have set a trade mission to Manado, Indonesia next month to further boost the Davao-General Santos-Bitung Roll-On Roll-Off sea linkage.

Minda assistant secretary Romeo Montenegro said the trade mission is part of efforts to finalize arrangement with the Indonesian counterpart for trade activities to support the Davao-General Santos-Bitung RoRo route which was launched in April by President Rodrigo Duterte and Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

“What happened after the launch was the commodities for the front load had not been consolidated yet and they do not have the complete volume coming from Mindanao up to North Sulawesi,” he said.

But the backload commodities coming from North Sulawesi or Bitung to Mindanao have been readied and specific agreements were firmed up for sourcing out such commodities coming from there, he added.

According to Montenegro, the only challenge when the project was launched was they tapped the bigger volume vessel of 500 TEUs (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit) and they need to come up with 500 20-footer van which is so huge a volume.

“But tapping a 100 TEUs capacity vessel then definitely, the movement went smoothly after the launch at hindi gaano kalaki ang magiging financial cost (the financial cost is not so huge),” he said.

Montenegro stressed that part of the options now is to explore other possible vessel in Super Shuttle with smaller in volume that could be dispatched for the route while they are working out on other possible options, he said. He pointed out that using a smaller vessel has lower cost.

“This may not be necessarily RoRo as it can be conventional to be able to serve that route,” he said. The smaller vessel will be used up to such time that they are able to see the peak in the shipment of cargoes.

Montenegro was optimistic the project is destined to pick up at a certain period so long as the necessary complementary activities are also being undertaken.

Among the products that will be shipped to Indonesia is flour, feeds which are viable in North Sulawesi although there is a need to secure permit from Indonesia. All other commodities that had been identified previously like the Motolite batteries will still be part of the front load cargoes.

He said the back load cargoes emanating from Indonesia are cement and coconut. (Digna D. Banzon/PNA)