THE Department of Transportation (DOTr) reported that inter-island sea vessel passenger traffic grew by 4.73 percent in 2017 year-on-year with a total of 3,262,391 passengers served.
In its Maritime Sector Update #2, DOTr attributed the passenger volume increase to the continuous reliance by the sea-travelling public on roll-on, roll-off vessels, fast crafts, and motorized bancas.
“The positive stream in passenger traffic may have also been favorably influenced by the government’s domestic eco-tourism programs encouraging leisure inter-island RORO travel to tourist destinations such as Siargao, Puerto Galera, Bohol, Coron, El Nido, and other emerging tourism sites.
“During the period in review, a total of 448,795 vessels nationwide is estimated which is a significant increase of 3.36% (14,580) over the 2016 figures attributed mainly to surge in inter-island vessel movements.”
DOTr also issued an update on the shorter trade route connecting Davao-General Santos-Bitung, Indonesia which was launched on 30 April 2017.
It said the new route reduced shipping time from an average of three to five weeks to just two to three days.
“As a result, operational costs were reduced from US$ 2,200 to US$ 700 per 20 foot equivalent unit (TEU), a 214% reduction that is equivalent to US$1,500 of savings.”