Local firm gets P2.3-B Jica loan
The government of Japan is helping boost the Philippines’ so-called nautical highway with a P2.3-billion loan meant to help expand the fleet of Archipelago Philippine Ferries Corp. (APFC).
With the loan extended through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), APFC has ordered 10 brand-new ropax (roll-on roll-off passenger) vessels, the second of which is ready for launch.
Jica said in a statement that the facility was intended to help improve the safety and modernization of the Philippine domestic shipping industry.
“Jica vows to continue supporting efforts of the Philippine government to assure safe sea travel and efficient sea-based logistics that are vital for sustainable economic development in an archipelagic country like the Philippines,” said Eigo Azukizawa, senior representative of Jica in the Philippines.
The agency said APFC secured the funding support from the Logistics Infrastructure Development Project of the state-owned Development Bank of the Philippines.
APFC is gearing up to launch the second of 10 ropax vessels, which was designated to serve the Batangas-Calapan route.
The vessel can carry 275 to 320 passengers as well as up to 40 passenger cars and six or seven trucks and buses.
In earlier reports, the company has indicated that some of the vessels were intended to help open up new inter-island links such as between Mindoro and Palawan.
The additions to APFC’s FastCat fleet are designed by Australian firm Sea Transport Solutions Pty. Ltd. and built by Boni Fair Development Ltd.
Jica said these vessels were the first locally owned, brand-new and internationally classed Catamaran ropax vessels to operate in the Philippines.
The vessels are “designed in line with climate conditions of the Philippine seas and is equipped with up-to-date safety features such as double hull with 10 watertight compartments, stable buoyancy with no ballast tanks to hold water inside.”
The vessels are also fitted with modern fire protection and fighting systems and installed with the state-of-the-art navigation and control systems. Ronnel W. Domingo
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