The Roll-on/Roll-off (Ro-Ro) port system will be revisited by the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), 14 years after it started in 2003, to ensure it continues to serve the needs of the trade and tourism sectors.
Revisiting the system will provide data and feedback from port users. It is also in response to the call of the private sector, specifically Ro-Ro operators, to improve Ro-Ro facilities amid their initiative to modernize the country’s fleet.
“The Ro-Ro system is the most efficient means to connect the country’s islands, which is why it is important to guarantee its continued viability for trade and tourism,” PPA general manager Jay Daniel Santiago said in a statement.
“With the influx of bigger, high-capacity and sophisticated Ro-Ro vessels, we need a responsive port system to cater to these demands,” Santiago noted.
The PPA chief said his agency is initially collaborating with the Manila Sports Car Club (MSCC) to try out the Western Nautical Highway. This node is composed of the ports of Batangas, Mindoro, Caticlan, Iloilo, Bacolod, Dumaguete, and Dapitan in Zamboanga, which have seen substantial growth since the launch of the Ro-Ro network.
“The MSCC, whose members own vintage and classic vehicles, will experience the ports’ capability to handle ordinary commuter vehicles. If the ports can handle the special requirements of these unique vehicles then surely, our ports can definitely handle the requirements of everyday vehicles,” Santiago noted.
Aside from the Western Nautical Highway, the Ro-Ro port system covers the Central and Eastern Seaboard Highways. The Central Nautical Highway links Pilar, Sorsogon, and Balingoan in Cagayan de Oro, while the Eastern Nautical Highway links the province of Biliran in Western Leyte to Surigao City.
Modernizing and expanding the Ro-Ro system is one of the top priorities identified by the current administration to maintain inter-island connectivity.
PPA said the government continues to encourage additional private sector investments in Ro-Ro operations, particularly in areas of huge traffic volume.