Infra support, add'l trade routes needed in Mindanao

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

MINDANAO Development Authority (Minda) chair Luwalhati R. Antonino said the island should improve its transport infrastructure and establish more trade routes in a bid to improve connectivity.

Antonino, speaking during the opening of the 23rd Mindanao Business Conference (Minbizcon) Monday at the KCC Convention Center and Events Center, said once all these will be put in place, it will escalate Mindanao's contribution to the national economy and its participation to the Asean Economic Community next year.

"Bolstering our infrastructure is the Mindanao Development Corridors, an initiative of Minda that will improve transport and logistics support to tourism, industry, and agriculture through infrastructure development," she said.


Antonino said the goal is to create a connected and globally competitive Mindanao, enabling it to position itself as a single, integrated economy that is able to leverage and participate in the East Asean Growth Area (Eaga), Asean, and the global economic community.

She said Mindanao's platform to the Asean, the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines (BIMP)-Eaga, underscores the crucial role of connectivity in achieving its goals of increased trade, investment, and tourism.

"Improved infrastructure contributes to the enhancement of air, land and sea transport systems, enabling the seamless movement of goods and people within and among the EAGA countries, and placing Mindanao in a position of strength as it moves towards integration to the Asean and to the rest of the world," Antonino said.

In terms of creating linkages and networks, she said MinDa is currently supporting the Davao City-General Santos City-Tahuna-Bitung shipping service.

The privately-led trade sea route, which will be launched within the year, will allow faster delivery of goods to Indonesia due to its closer proximity.

The trade route will only take three days, even faster than Bitung-to-Manila route taking about 5 weeks and Surabaya-to-Davao or General Santors which takes 7 days.

Also, the route will translate to a savings of $1,650 per 20-foot equivalent unit (TEU) in the shipment of Mindanao goods.

President Benigno S. Aquino III, in his message read by Antonino, cited the importance of the development of the route.

"I commend the efforts of the Chambers of Commerce of Davao, General Santos, and North Sulawesi for working for the establishment of shipping services between Davao-GenSan-Tahuna-Bitung. Once fully operational, this route certainly augurs well for achieving greater economic interchange between Mindanao and North Sulawesi, Indonesia in the greater context of Asean integration," the President said.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 02, 2014.


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