THE Department of Transportation (DOTr) announced a modernization program for the country’s roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) system to upgrade the three major nautical highways—Western, Central, and Eastern—and other RoRo routes.
The modernization program, which will have a budget of P5.701 billion to be funded through the General Appropriations Act, was posted on the government’s infrastructure project website build.gov.ph.
The timeline indicated in the posting said that project development will begin in September, implementation in December, with completion of the project estimated in December 2018. The portal offered the caveat, however, that conceptualization or feasibility studies might alter the project’s start date.
In a media statement, Transportation Undersecretary for Maritime Felipe Judan said upgrading the RoRo system is considered an economic priority, particularly since it offers “a very low cost of moving goods” compared with container shipping.
Judan said specific work would depend on the needs of the different RoRo ports around the country, but would generally include port development, ramp development, and deployment of additional RoRo vessels.
One of the major projects the modernization would undertake would be the building of a new RoRo port in San Fernando, Cebu, Judan said.
The announcement of the modernization follows an initiative announced earlier this year by the Philippine Port Authority (PPA) to conduct an assessment of the RoRo transport system, following calls by the private sector to improve facilities in support of the operators’ own initiatives to modernize their fleets.
In 2003, the government issued a policy to promote RoRo, resulting in the Strong Republic Nautical Highway project of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, a priority program to ensure fast and economical movement of goods and people, and to boost domestic tourism.