Home » Maritime, Ports/Terminals » Local shipping lines urged to serve 19 missionary routes

The Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) has declared 19 missionary routes where shipping lines may start a service, Marina deputy administrator for operations Engineer Nannette Dinopol said in a recent presentation to media.

Marina is now encouraging shipping companies to deploy roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) services on such routes, Dinopol said.

The 19 are part of lateral RoRo routes, which have more or less 140 links, and which are on top of the 27 routes on the three main Eastern, Central, and Western nautical highways under the country’s Road Roll-on/Roll-off Terminal System (RRTS).

A system of roads and ports developed by the Philippine government to connect the major islands of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, the RRTS was opened to the public on April 12, 2003 as the Strong Republic Nautical Highway.

Of the 27 routes under the RRTS, 10 are on the Western Nautical Highway, 14 on Central Nautical Highway, and three on the Eastern Nautical Highway. All except for two on the Central Nautical Highway are already being served.

Dinopol noted that incentives for shipping companies/operators that will deploy services on the missionary routes include a 50% discount on fees and charges plus protection of investment for five years.

During the same briefing, Marina officer-in-charge administrator Narciso Vingson, Jr. said some of the lateral RoRo routes remain unserved even though RoRo ramps are available in their ports. For routes with ports that have no RoRo ramps, Vingson said Marina will be coordinating with the Philippine Ports Authority for the construction of ramps.

He said Marina is assessing the country’s RoRo routes to validate a 2008 study on the costs of moving goods domestically and address the issue of high shipping cost.

Asked if there is traffic on the missionary routes, Vingson said that while “market demand is the most important,” they are requesting shipping companies to serve these routes as part of their corporate social responsibility.

Dinopol noted there has been some interest on the routes, with some shipowners already planning to deploy brand-new ships on such routes.

The opening of missionary routes is part of Marina’s priority program to upgrade domestic shipping in support of the nautical highway development. The program is part of the 2019-2029 Maritime Industry Development Plan, Marina’s decade-long roadmap that aims to accelerate the achievement of a nationally integrated and globally competitive Philippine maritime industry.

The opening of missionary routes was also directed by the Lower House Committee on Transportation, which recently created a technical working group to assess the missionary routes. – Roumina Pablo

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