Ferry operator inks P1.7-B Landbank loan to build 5 vessels

Published April 5, 2018, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin


By Emmie V. Abadilla

FastCat ferry operator Archipelago Philippine Ferries Corporation (APFC) yesterday signed a P1.726-billion loan with the Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank) for the construction of five new FastCat ferries.

As the country’s first and only catamaran Roll-on/Roll-off (Ro-Ro) ferries operator, FastCat is keen on achieving its goal of having 30 FastCats in its fleet by 2020.

Identified as Numbers 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22, the vessels are improved versions of APFCs existing fleet of 10 FastCat ferries secured during its re-fleeting program 8 years ago.

The shipping firm intends to bridge the Philippines 7,000-plus islands through reliable vessels designed to withstand the country’s extreme weather conditions, at the same time, offer a faster, more convenient transport of goods and passengers.

With the construction of three vessels already underway and funds secured to build five more catamarans, FastCat moves closer to its goal of having 20 modernized ferries operational by 2019.
By then, the company would have opened additional routes, too, including Bulalacao, Mindoro to Coron and Puerto Princesa, Palawan, as well as Lucena to Marinduque and other parts of Visayas and Mindanao regions.

“Landbank is aligned with our vision to modernize the shipping industry and connect the Philippines through moving bridges, ensuring a safer, more comfortable and reliable means of sea transport,” remarked Christopher Pastrana, chief executive officer of FastCat, during the ceremonial signing for the five vessels with Landbank yesterday at the Diamond Hotel.

Recently, FastCat opened new routes, servicing Jagna, Bohol to Balbagon, Camiguin to Opol, Cagayan de Oro.

The company is currently preparing to serve the Buliluyan, Palawan to Kudat, Malaysia route, signaling the start of its long-term plan to extend its services from domestic to regional destinations.