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Firm to spend P1.8B to build 5 new ferries

/ 05:24 AM December 13, 2018

The operator of FastCat ferry service is tapping a P1.8-billion loan to build new ships as part of a two-year modernization drive.

On Wednesday, Archipelago Philippines Ferries Corp. announced the signing of the loan agreement with Philippine National Bank.

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The funds will be used to build five new FastCat ferries, which will be “improved versions” of those used in its existing fleet.

The company is targeting to have 30 vessels by 2020 as competitors such as 2GO Group Inc. also upgrade their vessels.

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“With the construction and funding of these new vessels, FastCat is moving a step forward in modernizing the industry,” Christopher Pastrana, president of Archipelago Philippines, said.

“He said the new vessels will open up new routes and will bolster tourism and trade. It will boost trade among neighboring islands and support the local economy. The domestic farmers, fishermen, craftsmen and various producers will be able to transport their goods to far flung places faster and at a lower cost,” he added.

Archipelago Philippines, established in 2001, operates roll-on/roll-off (Roro) ferries as well as modernized ports and terminals in the eastern and western Philippine sea route.

The company’s terminal facilities include the ports of Matnog, Sorsogon; Dapdap, Allen, Northern Samar; San Isidro, Northern Samar; Liloan, Southern Leyte; Lipata, Surigao del Norte; Benit, Southern Leyte and both the old and new passenger terminal buildings in Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental.

Earlier this week, the Maritime Industry Authority finalized a list of priority projects under its 10-year maritime industry development plan.

The plan identified eight flagship projects. Among these are the upgrading of domestic shipping in support of the nautical highway development, the development of shipping services for maritime tourism, the development of coastal and inland waterways transport system and the strengthening of safety standards of Philippine-registered fishing vessels.

Also identified were the development of global maritime hub, the enhancement of maritime safety in the Philippines, the modernization of maritime security in the Philippines and the establishment of a maritime innovation and knowledge center.

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TAGS: Archipelago Philippines Ferries Corp., FastCat ferry, modernization
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