Jakarta. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and his Philippine counterpart Rodrigo Duterte opened a new shipping line between Davao City in Southern Philippines and Bitung in North Sulawesi by launching a "Roll On Roll Off" shuttle ship in Kudos Port on Saturday (29/04).
The Davao-Bitung shipping line is expected to increase trade between the two countries. The shuttle ship, which can carry up to 500 containers, will operate on the route.
RORO ships are designed to carry wheeled cargo such as cars, trucks and railroad carts, which can drive on and off the ship on their own wheels.
According to Jokowi, the new shipping line is an important milestone in bilateral relations.
In his speech, the president said the route will bring new business opportunities to both regions by reducing the time of transportation and improving people-to-people exchanges.
According to Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi, who accompanied the president, the new route will further connect the Asean region.
"Currently, the RORO service only connects Indonesia and the Philippines. But it will be developed to reach other Asean countries," Budi said in Manila on Saturday.
Concluding 20 years of back-and-forth negotiations, the Indonesian House of Representatives on Thursday ratified a maritime agreement demarcating Indonesian and Philippine exclusive economic zones.
President Jokowi ended his state visit in Manila on April 30. It was a return visit after Duterte came to Indonesia in September.
Also accompanying the president were Coordinating Minister of Economy Darmin Nasution, Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung and Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.