DAVAO CITY — The Indonesian-flagged vessel Gloria 28 has resumed the cargo service calling at General Santos and Davao as well as the port of Bitung in Sulawesi.
The vessel, which provides both charter and cargo services, was scheduled to arrive in General Santos on Dec 4, then make a stop in Davao before returning to Bitung on Dec. 7.
Bitung is about 44 kilometers from Manado, the capital of North Sulawesi.
Gloria 28, with a capacity of 256 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), started on the Manado-Davao route in October 2017 as an alternative to the 500-TEU M/V Super Shuttle RORO 12 operated by Philippine firm Asian Marine Transport Corp.
The Davao-General Santos-Bitung roll-on, roll-off (RORO) service was relaunched on April 30, 2017 with Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte and Indonesian President Joko Widodo leading the event, in the hope of strengthening trade between the two countries.
Flori Sumerah, managing director of Gloria 28 Global Business, said the vessel’s last voyage to Davao was in July, and the company hopes to make the trips more regular.
“For now there is no fixed or regular schedule but it can be followed up if needed,” she said in an e-mail interview.
The company also provides freight forwarding services and is an authorized customs broker for export and import in Davao as well as in Manado, Bitung and Tahuna, also in North Sulawesi.
With the shipping service’s revival, business chambers on both sides are hoping to sustain trade.
The Indonesian Consulate in Davao City together with the business chambers of Davao and North Sulawesi are holding a webinar on Dec. 10 to discuss ways of maintaining and strengthening ties.
Davao City-based Indonesian Consul General Dicky Fabrian, in a separate e-mail interview, said the consulate has recommended the creation of an online forum where representatives from both countries can meet regularly to discuss trade opportunities and other exchanges.
“It will offer more interaction (among) the business sector, academe, students, sports bodies, etc. that could boost trade, investment, tourism, and socio-cultural activities,” he said.
Mr. Fabrian said the consulate is also pushing for the revival of Davao-Manado flights by Garuda Indonesia, which were launched last year but halted in mid-March following travel restrictions imposed following the coronavirus outbreak.
“We hope after the pandemic, airlines from both countries can continue to serve the route,” he said. — Maya M. Padillo