PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal Arroyo yesterday formally opened the new roll on-roll off (Roro) port in Samboan, Cebu that links with Dapitan City in Mindanao. Construction of the facility is part of the President’s Strong Republic Nautical Highway, launched in 2003.
Lucio Lim Jr., president and general manager of Lite Shipping Corp. that built the P10-million port, said travel time from Cebu City to Dapitan City is now shortened by three hours and the fare is reduced by 30 percent.
Arroyo congratulated Lim and Captain Jose Belocura, Lite Ferry 1 ship captain, for their maiden voyage from Samboan to Dapitan City last night.
Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, Deputy House Speaker Pablo Garcia, Acting Executive Secretary Cerge Remonde and hundreds of Cebuanos attended the activity.
“This inaugural trip, with your presence, attests to the importance that you gave to this major rural link between the commercial and shipping center of south Cebu and the very rich provinces of Mindanao,” Lim told President Arroyo.
Lim said that in 2003, the President used their vessel, mv San Ramon de Bohol, in inaugurating the Dumaguete City to Dapitan City link, which is now a busy route with four Roro ships operating daily.
“We envisioned this Samboan-Dapitan route, which is only 50 nautical miles, to be an even busier route in the future. It will take us only 4.5 hours travel by our boat and we plan to deploy two ships here,” he said.
Lim said their second ship, which can carry 15 buses, will also travel the Samboan-Dapitan route using a government port a hundred meters away from the new port.
“We are also planning to operate a real Roro service between Bato, Samboan and Tampi, Amlan, Negros Oriental because right now, only LCTs, with cargo only and no passenger accommodation, are serving the route,” Lim said.
He estimated that 40 percent of cargoes for every Dumaguete to Dapitan trip is really for Cebu, particularly the fresh products from Zamboanga and fruits from northern Mindanao.
Maritime Industry Authority Administrator Maria Elena Bautista said Lite Shipping will be given a missionary route status, which allows no other shipping firm to ply the same area, until it can recover its investment.
“Lite Shipping has already applied for missionary status; and we will give them one year, in the meantime, while we are still waiting for them to submit the total figures (of investment) as basis for computation on how many years they can recover it,” she said.
Bautista said Lite Shipping spent for the port and the ships, and the higher the amount of investment, the longer the period that no other shipping firm would be allowed to operate in this link.
Aside from attending the event, President Arroyo also mimicked broadcasters and did one-on-one interviews with Captain Belocura, a construction worker and a port worker who got jobs because of the facility. (EOB)
New Shipping Route - Cebu to Dapitan
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Posted 22 November 2009 - 5:04 PM
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