PHILIPPINES: Palawan to Brunei, Malaysia shipping service eyed

banana-2-422x280GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – Mindanao authorities said the Philippine government is going to open shipping services from Brooke’s Point in Palawan to Muara Port in Brunei to go along with existing shipping routes in BIMP-EAGA.

Romeo Montenegro, investments and promotion officer of the Mindanao Development Authority, said he is currently in talks with local government officials in Palawan to explore trade products that may be shipped to Brunei.

“From Palawan, oil palm kernel, certain agri-fishery products and potentially bananas,” Montenegro mentioned.

The MinDA executive revealed that pineapple giant Del Monte Philippines is set unveil a P12-billion ($360 million) expansion project in Brooke’s Point.

Montenegro likewise said there is a big market for hot chili in BIMP-EAGA.

The cuisines of Indonesia, Brunei and Malaysia are heavy on spices and hot chili.

The Palawan gateway is also eyeing a Brooke’s Point-Sandakan (Sabah, Malaysia) shipping route.

“We can import construction materials from Malaysia,” he added.

Malaysia and Brunei, along with Indonesia are part of the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines-EastAsia Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA).

The BIMP-EAGA was organized in 1994.

It was aimed fostering economic, social and security cooperation among select cities in four countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

At least 4 Mindanao cities have already established trade and shipping links with BIMP-EAGA member countries. These are the cities of Davao, Zamboanga and Bongao in Tawi-Tawi.

In 2007, a shipping route between Glan in Sarangani Province and Tahuna in Indonesia was inaugurated but has since become dormant although occasional cargo trips are plying between General Santos City-Bitung and Davao-North Sulawesi.

Philippine authorities in Mindanao are also mulling the re-opening of Davao-Manado air link.

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