Just days after unveiling MV Filipinas Jagna, Cokaliong Shipping Lines Inc. bared that it has acquired its 12th roll-on/roll-off vessel, amounting to almost P200 million, and it is still looking around to purchase more.
MV Avrora Okushiri is a refurbished ship from Japan, and it is set to arrive in May 2017. It is the sister ship of MV Filipinas Jagna.
“It has the same engine, the same size but two years younger,” Chester Cokaliong, founder, chief executive officer and chief operating officer of the company.
It will be the third ship in the Cokaliong fleet to have a computerized engine monitoring system. The first two state-of-the-art ships are MV Filipinas Cebu and MV Filipinas Jagna. A computerized engine monitoring system means increased efficiency and performance of the vessel.
Cokaliong said renovation costs is expected to reach P260 million inclusive of tax. Like MV Filipinas Jagna, the new ship is expected to set sail sometime between August and September. Cokaliong said the new ship, which has yet to be renamed, might be plying Cagayan de Oro, Ozamis, Illigan, Masbate or Iloilo.
Cokaliong reiterated that shipping is still the easiest and cheapest mode of inter-island transportation. He pointed out that airports are often situated far from the city, forcing passengers to ride a taxi. Then there’s the airport terminal fee, which is so much more expensive than seaport terminal fees.
Demand for additional sailings on our existing routes is there, Cokaliong noted.
According to Cokaliong, all of his vessels are made in Japan.
It is a well-known fact that Japanese quality is superior; that’s why a lot of countries such as Indonesia, Greece, China, Vietnam and Thailand turn to Japan when buying ships. “Indonesia is our number one competitor. While the Philippines has more than 7,000 islands. Indonesia has 10,000, and they have more shipping lines than us,” Cokaliong related.
MV Avrora Okushiri has a length of 76.61 meters and a breadth of 14.50 meters. It has a maximum speed of 15 knots while it’s service speed is 14.5 knots. Built in 1999, MV Avrora Okushiri remains a fully functional ship. Cokaliong said he even boarded the ship when it sailed it Japan. The ship’s homeport is Wakkanai City in Hokkaido and sails to Okushiri, another island that is a popular tourist spot in Hokkaido.
Cokaliong said he also has a preference for Japanese ships because his engineers are more familiar with the Japanese engine. “Japanese quality is very good,” he said.
Competition is tough in buying Japanese ships because the Japanese are building less boats since they have built more bridges between islands in close proximity, Cokaliong explained. Also, he added, the Japanese are using their vessels longer unlike before when they would discard them with 10 years of use.
Like MV Filipinas Jagna, the new ship is expected to generate additional employment of 50 officers and crew members, he said.