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Shipping hit by less passengers, cargoes but higher fuel prices

AN OFFICIAL of Roble Shipping Corporation said that it is unfortunate that while there is less passengers and cargoes at this time of Covid-19 pandemic, fuel prices keep on increasing.

Roble Shipping President Joey Roble told Cebu Business Week their more than 30 passenger and cargo vessels are adversely affected by the pandemic and 30 percent of its workforce cannot be rehired due to redundancy.

Roble said that their passenger vessels did not anymore follow their normal schedules and are plying its routes every other day due to less volume of passengers.

He said that before the pandemic, the daily passengers of Roble Shipping were about 3,000 to 5,000. Now, it is less than 500.

Roble said that when the government started to impose lockdowns in March 2020, their vessels were docked and on standby at Pier area due to travel prohibition which lasted for several months.

When sea travel was reopened, authorities allowed only the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs) to board. Oftentimes, a vessel with a capacity of 500 passengers has only 50 passengers on board.

Roble shipping has routes from Cebu to Hilongos, Baybay, Ormoc City and Tacloban City in Leyte.

This time, Roble said the government has allowed normal travels on these areas if people will follow protocols like wearing face mask, social distancing and hand washing. Yet, there are still few passengers.

“Maybe, the people are still afraid to travel for fear that they may be contract Covid-19. Secondly, there are still no face-to-face classes so students are staying at home. Thirdly, people above 65 years old and children below 20 years are not yet allowed to travel,” Roble said.

He said that because of Covid-19, the people’s priority is health, not travel. ELIAS O. BAQUERO