THE Mindanao Container Terminal (MCT) in the Philippines has welcomed the start of a new Regional Container Lines’ (RCL) service connecting the Philippines’ Visayas and Mindanao regions to Asia and the Middle East via Singapore.

Launched in the Philippines through RCL’s Southern Philippine agent Eagle Express Line, the South Philippines 6 (RSP6) fixed-day weekly service made its first port call to MCT on December 19 with the 628-TEU Pira Bhum, reports Seatrade Maritime News, Colchester, UK.

The service is operated by two vessels and covers the Singapore, Cebu, Cagayan, Singapore route. The vessels turn in Singapore, which serves as a transshipment hub and provides connections from Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, and Zamboanga to other Southeast Asian markets, the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East, while additionally serving the markets further north such as China and South Korea.

General manager of MCT, Roberto Locsin, said the regular service calls can be considered as a “product superhighway” that will aid farmers, manufacturers, and other producers in the Philippines.

“Now more than ever, local businesses need help to bounce back, and the new service line will undoubtedly give them the boost they need,” Mr Locsin said.

MCT, a subsidiary of International Container Terminal Services, Inc (ICTSI), operates the terminal at the PHIVIDEC Industrial Estate in Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental.

Jose Gabriel la Vina, PHIVIDEC Industrial Estate administrator and CEO, has expressed optimism about the growth potential of the new carrier service.

“For the City of Cagayan de Oro and the rest of Misamis Oriental, the new service strengthens our position as a major agro-industrial exporter. The availability of a regular and predictable service to a major international hub also presents opportunities for entrepreneurs and industries to move up the value chain. This could only mean higher incomes, more jobs, and a more comfortable life for our people.”