Shipping firm’s new ro-ro to give industry a boost

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita May 07,2018 - 10:11 PM

DESPITE the emergence of more promo fares offered by local airlines, sea travel continues to enjoy patronage from travelers especially in the Visayas and Mindanao.

This is evident in the continued requests to open more ports of call from Cebu to other parts of the country, as revealed by Cokaliong Shipping Lines founder, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chief Operating Officer (COO) Chester Cokaliong.

The shipping company is acquiring a new roll-on-roll-off (ro-ro) ship, increasing their fleet to 13 vessels.

“It is expected to arrive in the Philippines on the first or second week of June. She will undergo renovation for another four months,” he said in a recent interview.

The company targets to inaugurate the vessel in October.

At least three routes are being eyed for the new vessel: Cagayan de Oro, Ozamiz-Iligan and Iloilo. But Cokaliong said the final route is yet to be decided as the inauguration date nears.

He explained that there is a great demand for the Cebu to Cagayan de Oro route which is currently being serviced by M/V Filipinas Jagna three times a week.

On the other hand, there is also a need to augment the Cebu to Ozamiz-Iligan route which is served by two vessels five times a week.

“There are still other ports of call that are asking for ships, but we can’t serve these yet,” Cokaliong said, especially with shortage of ship supply worldwide and highly competitive bidding for existing vessels.

Among these are the municipalities of Siquijor and Larena in Siquijor province and Ormoc City whose Chamber of Commerce had personally requested Cokaliong Shipping to open new routes going to these areas.

They also received a letter request from the mayor of Lamitan City in Basilan requesting for a route.

But while there may be potential in these routes, Cokaliong said they still have no plans to operate in these areas.

Cokaliong Shipping Lines’ other existing ports of call include Calbayog Manguino-o, Cebu, Dapitan, Dumaguete, Jagna, Maasin, Masbate, Nasipit, Palompon, Surigao, and Tagbilaran.

Cokaliong Shipping bought the new ship for 285 million Japanese Yen, excluding duties and taxes estimated at P18 million. They are also investing at least another P50 million in renovating the M/V Ferry Toshima in order for it to be ready to serve one of Cokaliong Shipping’s existing routes.

It will be their second ship that will feature a Controllable Pitch Propeller (CPP) for easier maneuvering.

Cokaliong said they also spent another 8 million Japanese Yen in acquiring a brand new Engine Monitoring System (EMS) to help ensure that there will be no breakdowns with the ship’s engines during sea travels.

The technology, which is provided by Terasaki Electric Co., Ltd., will monitor, among others, the temperature of the engine. It will trigger an alarm system when temperature is at a critical level or if there are any defective part of the main and auxiliary engines.

The upcoming Ro-Ro ship will be the fourth vessel in the Cokaliong Fleet that will have the EMS feature.

The newest vessel will also be Cokaliong Shipping Lines’ youngest at only 18 years old and has a gross tonnage (GRT) of 1,391.

M/V Ferry Toshima was built on February 2000 and had its homeport in Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture, in Japan.

The vessel got its classification from Italy-based Registro Italiano Navale (RINA) which is a founding member of the International Classification Society (IACS).

According to RINA’s company website, the goal of ship classification is to approve the operations of ships and to maintain this authorization over time by carrying out periodic inspections and laboratory tests. RINA’s main focus is to ensure safety and protection of people and property.

Under the recent Circular No. 2017-04 of the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), shipping companies have been ordered to import ships that should be no less than 500 GRT and should not be more than 20 years old.

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