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BIMP-EAGA sea linkage to resume, get expanded

The shipping route between Indonesia and the Philippines will not only resume but will also be expanded to include the rest of the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines-East Asean Growth Area, an official of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) yesterday.

Eamarie Gilayo of the International Relations Division at MinDA said during the Wednesdays @ Habi at Kape – Abreeza said the route will be the cities of Davao and General Santos in the Philippines; Bitung, Indonesia; Muara in Brunei; and Labuan, Malaysia.

The company, Reefer Express Lines, will use a smaller vessel to ensure that the route will be sustained.
Gilayo said the route will resume after some issues are resolved, among them the incentives that the company is asking from the governments of the areas that it will serve.

Among the incentives being sought is the reduction or non-payment of operational fees, although the Philippine government has slashed these to the low of 50%, said Jonathan Miral, chief of the division, adding that the reduction can be lower because the route is still missionary.

“At this point of time, we don’t want BIMP-EAGA projects to be launched and then in a few months it will stop. Business investors will lose their confidence to invest because of that,” Miral said.

The fees can be scrapped on a “case-to-case basis,” Gilayo said, adding that nothing has been final yet.

First launched in 2017, the company that first served the route decided to stop it because it was using a big vessel whose cargo capacity was about 500 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs).

Although another company tried to revive the route, lack of cargoes still hounded it, forcing it to stop its operations.

Gilayo said at present, the Indonesian government has also lifted some restrictions over some commodities that will enter its market, but also decided to impose more documentation processes on some products, particularly agricultural commodities.

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