The Mindanao Federation of Shippers Association (Minfesa) will hold the First Mindanao Logistics Conference on November 25-26, 2009 at the Auditorium of PHIVIDEC Administration Bldg., Mindanao Container Terminal Complex at PHIVIDEC, Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental. Minfesa is pushing for the opening of a Northern to Southern Mindanao link to serve as a main corridor, similar to the Davao-Cagayan expressway.
Minfesa president Vic Lagdamen said on Monday that like the Davao-Cagayan route, the Northern to Southern Mindanao link would bolster the mobility of goods and people.
The conference is themed “Southern-Northern Mindanao Logictics Corridor: Key to Fast Track its Economic Development.”
The proposed integrated logistics and transportation plan includes Zamboanga, Caraga and other regions in Mindanao, while the Northern Mindanao link is being pushed as a main corridor.
Mindanao is yet to have an integrated logistics and transportation plan, Lagdamen noted.
He said the plan would fit into efforts to boost infrastructure in Mindanao, noting recent developments with the Mindanao Container Terminal, along with the expansion of seaports and airports and improvement of national roads.
Undersecretary Virgilio Leyretana Sr., chairman of the Mindanao Economic Development Council (Medco), said it is high time that Mindanao has a logistics corridor. Medco is now formulating the Mindanao 2020 Peace and Development Framework Plan.
Leyretana said infrastructure projects are the arteries for progress, providing access to economic opportunities for depressed and vulnerable rural communities by opening new areas for economic development, and linking the production areas with the urban centers and market.
Cold-chain and banana industries will also be among the focus topics in the two-day first Mindanao Logistics Conference.
A “banana logistics corridor” in Mindanao has been identified as one of the topics.
Leyretana cited Medco data showing that banana exports continued to remain the second top Mindanao export, raking in $456.11 million in 2008, up 16.12 percent from 2007’s $392.8 million.
Minfesa recently held consultations in Cagayan de Oro and Zamboanga cities, and the sectoral issues and concerns raised there would be presented in the logistics conference.
Lagdamen said they will forward the conference resolutions to concerned agencies like the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), as well as to aspiring presidential candidates, saying that “the new administration should already buy into the idea.”
He said some international players like foreign shipping industries are also expected to join the 200-strong delegation of shippers, shipping lines, cargo forwarders, service providers and representatives from the private sector and government agencies.
The director of Muara Port in Brunei Darussalam is expected to address the conference, to highlight the port and infrastructure development thrust in the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area subregional cooperation, Lagdamen said.
“Luzon is ahead of us in planning its own integrated logistics corridor and building expressways, interconnecting its ports and airports. It is high time for Mindanao to plan its own future and face the global challenge,” he said.