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Boat reviving Davao-GenSan-Bitung route to arrive this week in Davao

DAVAO CITY – The Filipino boat that revived last month the Davao-General Santos-Bitung (DGB) shipping service is expected to arrive at this port city on Saturday, 20 days after it started its trial sail run from the Vietnamese port of Ho Chi Minh.

The trial run would cover five port calls in Malaysia and Indonesia prior to arriving here, in an expanded route from the original Davao City and General Santos City port calls in Mindanao before directly ending its voyage in Bitung, Indonesia.

While the entire one-way route takes 20 days, the original DGB connection takes only three days to cover to its final destination.

The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) considered the three-day run for the DGB a big improvement to what used to take three to five weeks on the usual and only Manila port of departure going first to Jakarta before reaching Bitung.

The Reefer Express Line of the Filipinas Inc. ship set sail from the Philippines to the Ho Chi Minh port on June 16, which the MinDA explained as necessary “because the bulk of the import requirements of the BIMP-Eaga (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines – East Asian Growth Area) areas of Labuan and Bitung will be coming from Ho Chi Minh”. 

“Thus, for practical reasons, the ship will begin from where the main cargoes are coming from,” the MinDA said.

Vietnam is not a member of the BIMP-Eaga, which is composed of only Brunei Darusallam, Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia. The DGB, on the other hand, is a BIMP-Eaga initiative to tap the Celebes Sea route.

From the calendar of port calls to be undertaken by the Reefer Express, it would reach Davao City on July 6.

From the first port of departure from Ho Chi Minh, the Philippine-registered vessel actually stayed for 10 days to load the cargoes and left the port on June 26. It arrived at the Malaysian port of Labuan two days later, and at another Malaysia port in Sepangga on June 29. 

The ship called port in Indonesia’s port towns of Bitung on July 2 and Ternate on July 4. The ship is expected to arrive on July 6.

The Reefer Express took off from where the Asian Marine Transport (AMT) once started in 2017 in a launching that was witnessed by both Philippine President Duterte and Indonesian President Jocowi Widodo.

The MinDA said the Reefer Express is utilizing a conventional and specialized vessel with container intake of 240 twenty-footer equivalent units, or TEUs, “relatively smaller than AMT’s previous 500 TEU vessel”. It said the Reefer Express ship was the ideal size of ship for this kind of missionary route. 

The Reefer express would operate twice a month “and has opted to maximize their market presence in BIMP-Eaga with the inclusion of other areas in Labuan (Malaysia), Sepanggar (Kota Kinabalu) and Ternate (Indonesia) as part of their route schedule. Freight cost is $ 2,200 per TEU roundtrip,” it added..

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