Archipelago Philippines Ferries Corp., the operator of FasCat ferries, on Wednesday signed a P1.8-billion loan agreement with Philippine National Bank for the construction of five new roll-on roll-off vessels.
“With the construction and funding of these new vessels, FastCat is moving a step forward in modernizing the industry,” APFC president Christopher Pastrana said.
“The addition of these new vessels will open up new routes, which will connect travellers and tourists to more diverse destinations in the country. 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 said.
The five new ferries are part of its modernization drive to complete its goal of operating 30 RoRo vessels by 2020.
The newly designed ferries have incorporated enhanced features for added safety, power efficiency and comfort. Additionally, it uses solar power and has special amenities that are user friendly to the elderly and Persons with Disabilities.
“We will start construction of their [PNB-funded] ship by first quarter next year. Delivery of those vessels will arrive 2020,” Pastrana said.
“Right now we have 12 vessels in the Philippines. We’re servicing the eastern and western part of the central corridor,” he said.
“We’re looking at doubling up our routes in the Central Visayas and also tap Mindanao area. We want to open up the Tawi-Tawi-Basilan-Zamboanga area. And also there’s going to be a vessel in Davao to shorten land travel,” he said.
Pastrana said the company would invest $240 million for the 30 RoRo vessels funded by Development Bank of the Philippines, BDO Unibank Inc., Land Bank of the Philippines, United Coconut Planters Bank, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., Asia United Bank and PNB.
He said the company was targeting to serve between 10 million and 11 million passengers and about 12 million tons of cargo for the additional 30 vessels starting 2021.
The company is currently servicing more than 3 million passengers using the existing 12 vessels.
Pastrana said that in terms of revenue, APFC was projecting a P4 billion to 5 billion annual revenue starting 2021 from last year’s P2 billion.
FastCat routes include Batangas to Clapan, Mindoro; Bulalacao, Mindoro-Caticlan, Aklan; Matnog, Sorsogon-San Isidro, Northern Samar; Bacolod-Iloilo, Liloan, Leyte-Lipata, Surigao; San Carlos, Negros Occidental-Toledo, Cebu; and Dumaguete, Negros Oriental-Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte.