ASIAN Marine Transport Corp (AMTC) has temporarily suspended its roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) service on the Davao-General Santos-Bitung route because of low demand.
AMTC was also considering replacing the 500-TEU vessel currently deployed on the service between the Philippines and Indonesia with a ship of 100-TEU capacity.
The service was inaugurated on April 30 by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte and his Indonesian counterpart, Joko Widodo, reported the Manila Times.
Indonesian Consul General Berlian Napitupulu said the potential was present, "but you have to have somebody to consolidate the cargo both sides, in Indonesia and Mindanao".
The Indonesian Consulate in Davao City recently concluded a three-day expo featuring Indonesia products and networking events for Indonesian and Filipino businesses.
The consulate is also planning to bring Filipino businessmen to Bitung this August to explore partnership opportunities.
The ro-ro service was said to be a faster alternative to the Manila-Jakarta-Bitung route, which takes three to five weeks of shipping time. Direct shipping through the new service takes only 1.5 days of sailing (excluding port stays).
The new loop was also cheaper, affording savings of up to US$1,500 per TEU, given its rate of $700 per TEU, compared with $2,200 per TEU on the Davao-General Santos-Manila-Manado via Jakarta route.