The Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) is pushing for the Philippines-Indonesia Roll on-Roll off (Ro-Ro) as a prelude to the connectivity to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Ro-Ro system starting next year.
Marina said the connectivity will facilitate the seamless transport of cargo and passengers within the ASEAN economies.
Initially, Marina and its Indonesian counterpart, the Indonesian Directorate General for Sea Transport are working on identifying the ports. Initially, they have identified Zamboanga, General Santos, and Davao. They are likewise looking at the other Mindanao ports to further connect with Indonesia.
“We already met with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), because it would need bilateral agreement. We told DFA that the Terms of Reference (TOR) is workable,” a source privy to the negotiations said.
A feasibility study which will merge the studies to be conducted by the Philippines and Indonesia is expected to commence in January next year.
The source explained that Indonesia has existing Indonesia -Malaysia- Thailand growth triangle. Later on, Philippines can join in this seamless connectivity.
In the ASEAN scope, it was learned that there is a Master plan on ASEAN Connectivity spearheaded by the Japanese consultancy firm Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA).
The other study being made is called the Brunei Action Plan also known as the ASEAN Strategic Transport Plan 2011.
Presently, they are working on the TOR of the ASEAN Ro-Ro, which include among others; the kind of Ro-Ro, the financing, identifying the areas, legal and policy consideration and the socioeconomic condition in the ASEAN.
The ASEAN TOR is expected to be approved this October and will be submitted to the ASEAN maritime technical working group (MTWG) and then to the Senior Transport Officials meeting in November.
The head of state of the ASEAN agreed to adopt the Ro-Ro system aimed to integrate the ASEAN economies by 2015. The head of states in the ASEAN region had already included the Ro-Ro system in their 2011-2015 integration master plans.The ASEAN head of states agreed to impose the Ro-Ro system that will be included in the Top 6 ASEAN priority projects along the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asian Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) that will be connected to the ongoing Ro-Ro service between China and Japan.
The system is also expected to facilitate the ASEAN Ro-Ro system on ships and trucks; ships and vehicle registration; in ports such as the promotion of container-chassis Ro-Ro; standardization of Ro-Ro ports; freight and logistics support; and customs, immigration and quarantine.
ASEAN is keen on applying such in intra-regional connectivity such as transportation, information technology and people.
The ASEAN Ro-Ro concept when adopted can shorten transport time between and among ASEAN member nations and will open new markets for Philippine businesses.