Sunday, December 20, 2009

Philippines RoRo Shipping And Freight Transport Update

Improved Services and Major Changes to Administration
Shipping News Feature

PHILIPPINES – New routes for freight and passenger traffic look set to open in the near future with the plans for a RoRo terminal to be constructed at Codon on the island of Catanduanes as an addition to the outlined port development project. If funding is forthcoming it will mean a direct link between the new terminal and San Vicente cutting transit times between the island and Manila by two hours or more.

Projects are proceeding all around the islands with the latest route between New Washington, Eastern Aklan and Batangas via Odiongan,Luzon supplementing the existing routes . Even larger vehicles can now be accommodated on the tri weekly service which allows travellers to avoid diverting via Caticlan, thus avoiding transhipment and delays. Infrastructure projects are also being pushed through with highway upgrades and a new coastal route between Presentacion and Caramoan under construction on Sorsogon.

April saw the inauguration of the Eastern nautical Highway, the final stage of the marine route linking all the missionary ports throughout the Philippines. This final stage joins Sorgoson, Masbate, Biliran, Southern Leyte, and Surigao (Mindanao).

After the announcement of their far reaching “Making Waves “ten point plan which is designed to modernise and simplify all the processes needed for the registration of vessels and seafarers, it seems that the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) the Department of Transportation body responsible for all domestic and overseas shipping matters, are considering reviewing the system for granting RoRo “missionary route” status. A missionary route is a scheme, outlined by MARINA in October and introduced in November whereby if only one shipping line operates in an area they receive incentives from the Government in the form of reduced licence fees and financial guarantees. The status applies when no other operator works within a 50 kilometre radius of the relevant port but now MARINA may consider this too great a distance as some operators have apparently objected.

The MARINA “Making Waves” scheme is intended to assist anyone who has to comply with Philippine regulations at sea. It incorporates centralisation of all necessary documents for registration of both ships and crews and also provides for better security by incorporating digital photographs of all seafarers to help avoid fraud. It has a text reporting service to enable individuals to report abuse of safety procedures and unsuitable working practices as well as having awards for outstanding vessels and crews.

Pic: Mindanao by Dr.A.Hugentobler