Corporate News

By Daphne J. MagturoReporter

FastCat planning to expand in SE Asia

Posted on April 08, 2016

ROLL-ON/ROLL-OFF (RoRo) operator Archipelago Philippine Ferries Corp. (FastCat) is setting its sights on expanding to Southeast Asian countries, after it completes its $290-million fleet modernization program by 2020.

A FASTCAT vessel is seen in this file photo. -- HTTP://FASTCAT.COM.PH
“In 2010, we embarked on a modernization program and looked for a vessel that is more suitable to our people. We also want to open the country to the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) integration by expanding to Indonesia and Malaysia,” FastCat Chairman Christopher S. Pastrana said during a media briefing on Thursday in Makati City.

The company, which started commercial operations in 2013, is acquiring 30 new mid-sized Catamaran vessels throughout 2020.

The first 10 vessels have arrived and will all be deployed this month, ferrying three million passengers a year. This will increase to 10 million passengers by 2020.

In the same comparable period, annual cargo capacity will also increase to 12 million tons from 1.5 million tons.

Each vessel can accommodate 275 to 320 passengers, seven trucks or buses and 34 cars. It travels at 16.5 knots or 29 kilometers per hour, “faster than most RoRo vessels,” according to Mr. Pastrana.

“MARINA (Maritime Industry Authority) data show that even if we complete the 30 vessels, we can only serve 25% of the whole industry,” FastCat Executive Vice-President-Treasurer Mary Ann I. Pastrana said in the same venue.

The vessels offer economy, premium economy, and business classes.

She added that the company will build a shipyard facility, mini-hotels near ports, and a training center for seafarers.

“We’re looking at P300 million in capital expenditure this year for these,” Mr. Pastrana said.

FastCat already acquired a property in Mindoro to house the shipyard facility for the maintenance of the Catamaran vessels.

The company’s routes are Batangas to Calapan, Mindoro; Bulalacao, Mindoro to Caticlan, Aklan; Matnog, Sorsogon to San Isidro, Northern Samar; Bacolod to Iloilo; Leyte to Lipata, Surigao; San Carlos, Negros Occidental to Toledo, Cebu; and Dumaguete, Negros Oriental to Dapitan in Zamboanga del Norte.