Philippines: Davao firm to open direct banana route from Mindanao to Middle East

Reefer Express Line of the  Filipinas Inc. (Reefer Filipinas), based in Davao, has announced it will launch a direct shipping route between Mindanao and the Middle East. Its goal is to allow local banana growers to directly tap the growing Middle Eastern market for their produce.

Reefer Filipinas President and CEO Felix S. Ishizuka told the BusinessMirror  they are keen on launching their first Davao-Saudi Arabia-Iran route by April as they are able to consolidate 200,000 boxes of bananas for export to the Middle Eastern market.

Ishizuka claimed this will be the first commercial direct shipping route between Mindanao and Iran. He noted that only one company has a vessel shipping directly to Middle East. This, Ishizuka pointed out, leaves banana growers with no choice but to sell their produce to this company and even competing with the firm’s own banana production.

Ishizuka said his firm has signed an agreement with the prospective first exporters to use the new route with a current consolidated volume of 150,000 boxes today. He explained that the volume should be at least 200,000 boxes for the route to launch. “The 50,000 boxes would be easy to fill up. We are very positive that this Philippine-Middle East direct liner service will fly very, very soon. We’re looking at April. Now, we are giving our small banana growers an option to penetrate the Middle East market.”

Ishizuka said the Mindanao-Middle East route would ply every once a month after launching, eventually increasing to twice a month once volume increases and stabilizes. Through the new shipping route, Ishizuka said local growers will have more elbow room to negotiate prices directly with the importers or traders of the importing country.

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