By Calvin Cordova
CEBU CITY—Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is confident the creation of the Philippine Coastwise Shipping Association (PCSA) will bolster the country’s roll-on, roll-off (RORO) system.
Arroyo was keynote speaker during last Friday’s induction of officers and board of trustees of PCSA, which merged the Philippine RORO Operators Association, Visayan Association of Ferry Boat and Coastwise Ship-owners Operators and United Trampers Association of the Philippines.
“This unites and strengthens the voice of shipping operators in Visayas and Mindanao for the goal of advancing the further improvement of the domestic shipping industry,” said Arroyo.
“I am confident that with the establishment of the PCSA, the industry will have a stronger voice,” she added.
PCSA nominated Arroyo as its chairman emeritus in recognition of her contribution in the country’s RORO system. There are 140 RORO routes all over the country.
Arroyo recalled that it was during her term when the 919-kilometer Strong Republic Nautical Highway opened in April 12, 2003.
“The RORO travel slashed travel time from Mindanao to Luzon from 36 hours to 24 and reduced freight cost by 30 percent, so crucial to shipments of agribusiness products from Mindanao to Luzon like copra, rice, corn, and vegetables,” she said.
Some of the RORO projects were cancelled after her term, but the PCSA lauded the current administration for reviving them.
“While we were saddened with the cancellation of some of the RORO projects in six years after my term as president ended, we now have a renewed vigor of our advocacy of further improving inter-island connectivity through RORO projects with the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte’s revival of these projects,” Arroyo said.
PCSA Chairman Lucio Lim Jr. said the association will promote responsible ownership.
“We will police our ranks particularly on matter of setting quality standards of safety and service in domestic shipping operations. We will create an arbitration committee that will look into shipping companies engaging in price war, trying to kill each other,” Lim said.
Other officials of PCSA are Paul Rodriguez (president) of Super Shuttle Ferry; Benson Go (vice president for cargo shipping) of Seensam Shipping; Vicente Montenegro (vice president for passenger shipping) of Montenegro Shipping; Pio Serafin Fulache (treasurer) of Medallion Shipping and Teresa Abad (corporate secretary) of 2Go Group.
The board of trustees includes Alexander Cohon of Lapu-lapu Shipping Lines, Arthur Kenneth Sy of Trans Asia Shipping Lines and Jose Emery Roble of Roble Shipping Lines.