18th July, 2012
KOTA KINABALU: Kudat, in the northern part of Sabah, will get a major boost soon with a roll-on/roll-off (RORO) vessel serving the route between it and Palawan in the Philippines.
The vessel is all set to be commissioned by one of the largest RORO operators in the Philippines.
The RORO service was made possible following the conclusion of an agreement between the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP EAGA) Malaysia Business Council and the RORO operator concerned in Batangas, the Philippines, last Saturday.
The Malaysian business council was represented by the Sabah Bumiputra Chamber of Commerce Honorary Treasurer, Roselan Johar Mohamed, and the RORO operator by Vincent Guy Montenegro of Montenego Lines, Batangas.
RORO Vessels are designed to carry goods such as cars, trucks, lorries, and trailers.
In disclosing this, Roselan said the essence of the service is to promote the sea-linkage between Kudat and Brookes Point, Palawan, as both ports have many different types of commodities for exchange.
“This definitely augurs well for two-way traffic, which is a vital ingredient for success. With or without sufficient cargo during its initial stage of operation, the Montenegro line has promised to uphold its scheduled services, for at least a year on the basis of two sailings weekly.
“It is hoped that over time, exporters and importers alike will gradually learn to accept the services and hopefully more trade will develop,” he told Bernama, here, yesterday.
Roselan said the only cause for concern is that the Kudat port is not equipped with a landing-ramp, which is vital for all loading and discharging operations.
He said Sabah Ports Sdn Bhd has already been notified and further discussions will be held very soon to alleviate this deficiency.
“If the ramp is made available, the Montenegro Lines will commence its service as early as in October this year. In addition, the RORO operator has also expressed an interest in managing the Kudat port in close cooperation with the Sabah Bumiputra Chamber of Commerce.
“This subject is still awaiting formal discussions with all parties concerned,” he added.
Roselan said Kudat is at present populated by mostly senior citizens, whilst the younger population, has migrated to other cities in search of employment.
“Technically, Kudat remains inactive after 6.00 pm. It is hoped that the fresh link-up will allow it to imitate Tawau as a busy and bustling border town activated by heavy retailing and merchandising activities,” he said.