Home » Ports/Terminals » PPA zeroes in on ro-ro ports expansion

THE expansion of roll on-roll off (ro-ro) ports in hard-to-reach places is one of the priorities of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) as it celebrates its 36th anniversary this month.

The ro-ro ports will be incorporated into the Strong Republic Nautical Highway (SRNH), an integrated set of highway segments and vehicular ferry routes which, considered in combination with other road and ferry routes not formally part of the SRNH, forms the backbone of a nationwide vehicle-accessible transport system. This system reduces the usual travel time by 17 hours to the different key cities, enhances the accessibility of the prime tourist destinations, and minimizes the handling expenses of goods, all over the country.

Undergoing final review are new ro-ro routes such as the Ilocos-Batanes Link, anchored on the development of the Port of Currimao, which already has an existing ro-ro port.

An ongoing development, on the other hand, is the Northeastern Coast Ro-Ro network, aimed at linking the mountainous, northernmost provinces of Cagayan, Isabela, Aurora and Quezon. The provincial governments of Aurora, Cagayan and Isabela have already formed the Northeastern Luzon Pacific Coastal Ro-Ro Service Corp to serve as the corporate vehicle for this endeavor.

To complement the ro-ro ports, access roads such as those leading to Dingalan in Aurora through the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway are a priority. The construction of highways, including the Manila-Infanta (Quezon) Road and the Baler-Casiguran Road, are ongoing.

In Luzon, the most prominent future corridor will be the Batangas-Mindoro-Palawan route expected to tap into resource-rich and tourist magnet Palawan. Made up of several large islands, Palawan can be accessed from the Luzon mainland via San Jose in Occidental Mindoro to one of Palawan’s northernmost islands, Coron.

While Boracay, one of the country’s premier tourist destinations, can be accessed from Batangas via Oriental Mindoro, a ro-ro link is in the works from San Jose, Occidental Mindoro to Coron. From Coron, one can hop to Culion, Binalan and Taytay to reach Puerto Princesa by land. Famous tourist spots in Palawan include El Nido, Maricaban Bay, Calauit Wildlife Safari, and Kayangan Lake.

Plans for the Visayas

In the Visayas, PPA is planning to permanently link the Eastern Nautical Highway and the Central Nautical Highway to facilitate easier crossing from one nautical highway to the other.

Another future link is the Cebu-Bohol-Southern Leyte Loop, a natural expansion of existing routes. Several ports in Southern Leyte are natural gateways from Mindanao. Between these major destinations lie even more paradise-like islands.

With the ro-ro policy in place, the SRNH requires only a few enhancements. The PPA believes more focus should be devoted toward encouraging more private companies and local government units to invest in the establishment and commercial operations of both new and existing private ports.

PPA also has urged other government agencies, particularly the Development Bank of the Philippines, to get involved in the undertaking.

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