The cargo ship MV Iris Paoay recently made history because it was the first Philippine flag container ship to sail non-stop between Manila and the United States in decades.
Acting Mission Director of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Sean Callahan, accompanied the Minister of Commerce and Industry Ramon Lopez, the Mayor of Manila Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, the chairman of Royal Cargo, Michael Kurt Raeuber, and other state and government agencies private partners on the maiden voyage of MV Iris Paoay on September 20th.
USAID worked with the Export Development Council (EDC) and the University of the Philippines Public Administration Foundation as part of the Regulatory Reform Support Program for National Development (RESPOND) project to organize a series of high-level discussions to find solutions to Finding the Philippines’ high international transportation costs and insufficient shipping space, and the non-stop service was identified as one of the solutions.
USAID and other stakeholders have partnered with Royal Cargo and its subsidiary Iris Logistics to launch the first Filipino non-stop shipping service in decades between the Philippines and the US mainland.
In a statement, Callahan said USAID is proud to be a part of this momentous occasion, an excellent way to celebrate the agency’s 60th anniversary in the Philippines and the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two Countries.
“We hope to create a favorable environment for local businesses and build business capacity,” added the acting director of USAID.
MV Iris Paoay will be the first container ship flying the Philippine flag to sail non-stop from the Philippines to the US west coast and back.
The shipping service is intended to increase the overall exchange of goods, especially perishable agricultural products, and to increase food security through punctual deliveries.
Dr. Henry Basilio, chairman of the EDC Network Transport and Logistics Committee, said the initiative inspired other local shipping lines to consider regional (intra-Asian) and trans-Pacific shipping services as well.
The Philippines is the United States’ ninth largest export market for agricultural and allied products, and the United States, on the other hand, is the second largest buyer of Philippine agricultural and related exports. Reciprocal trade between the two countries amounted to $ 4.3 billion in 2020.
For the past six decades, USAID has worked with the Philippine government and local organizations on development-oriented projects, and has invested around 257 billion pesos ($ 5.1 billion) to support the country since 1961.
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