Home » Maritime, Ports/Terminals » 2Go revives Manila-Davao service

The MV St. Michael the Archangel, a 1,900-capacity passenger and roll-on/roll-off ship, has been deployed on the three-day, two-night service (one way).

Davao City—The 2Go Group, Inc. formally launched on Oct 28 its service reconnecting Manila and Davao.

The reopening of the Davao-General Santos-Iloilo-Manila and vice versa route is in response to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s request to provide a cheaper option to Davao-Manila travellers. The route has not been serviced by ships for 10 years following the rise of budget airlines offering faster travel.

The MV St. Michael the Archangel, a 1,900-capacity passenger and roll-on/roll-off ship with three class options—business, tourist, and stateroom, has been deployed on the three-day, two-night service (one way), said 2Go chairman Dennis Uy during the service’s official launch at Sasa Wharf.

Ticket prices range from P2,500 to P4,500, way lower than the fare charged by airlines. For the maiden voyage, 2Go offered a promo fare of P1,500.

Each passenger gets a free 60-kilogram baggage allowance.

Amenities on board include a spa, salon, KTV, fine dining, buffet, coffee shop, convenience stores, and spacious bunks and beds.

The vessel can also accommodate 200 twenty-foot equivalent units of containers.

During the launch of the 2Go Davao-Manila-Davao service last Oct 28 at the Davao-Sasa port were (L to R): Philippine Ports Authority general manager Atty. Jay Daniel Santiago; former Maritime Industry Authority administrator and just-appointed Customs commissioner Rey Leonardo Guerrero; National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr.; 2Go Group president and chief executive officer Frederic DyBuncio; Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade; Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea; 2Go Group chairman Dennis Uy; Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III; and Philippine Coast Guard commandant Elson Hermogino.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, reading a message on behalf of the President who was unable to attend, said “it is imperative that we establish public sea transport routes from Manila to Davao and other ports across the country.”

“As an archipelago, the Philippines needs the services of an efficient sea vessel that would cater to those who need affordable modes of transportation. This route will facilitate greater mobility, encourage investments, and stimulate our local economies,” Medialdea read.

Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade, in a speech during the event, said reopening of the route took only more than 100 days with the help of the transport department’s attached agencies and the commitment of 2Go.

The Maritime Industry Authority earlier gave 2Go a special permit to operate on the route to serve passengers expected to flock to the included ports during this year’s observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.

Refurbished port

To support the new service, the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) refurbished Sasa Wharf’s passenger terminal building (PTB), which features a pre-departure waiting area, screening areas, and clean comfort rooms for passengers. The PTB is air-conditioned with X-ray machines, CCTV cameras, fire alarms and Wi-Fi service.

PPA general manager Atty. Jay Daniel Santiago, in an interview with PortCalls on the sidelines of the event, noted that Sasa Wharf had been catering only to cargoes for the longest time. PPA Davao was able to prepare the PTB in time for 2Go’s launch.

If passenger volume improves, Santiago said PPA can build a new PTB, which could be in another port. The PPA chief noted that the agency wants, as much as possible, “to separate cargo from the passengers” and “dedicate Sasa purely for containerized cargo.”

Earlier, Chelsea Logistics Holdings, Corp. (CLHC), wholly owned subsidiary of Udenna Corporation, has submitted an P11.2-billion unsolicited proposal to rehabilitate and develop Davao-Sasa port.

Udenna is also chaired by Dennis Uy.

The project will be done in four phases, with phase one involving the rehabilitation of the existing port at a cost of P5 billion.

CLHC is proposing a 25-year concession period to operate the port, handling both international and domestic containers, general cargoes, and passengers. – Text and photos by Roumina Pablo

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