Interview: Djarwo Surjanto
What are Indonesia’s priorities in terms of ports?
DJARWO SURJANTO: Port development is a key focus of this administration. As a country, we are working to provide quality facilities to carry out the Sea Toll Road project, and many ports are already set to implement this programme. The recently inaugurated Teluk Lamong Port (TLP) in East Java is a clear example of a project that is consistent with President Joko Widodo’s vision, which is included within the Greater Surabaya Metropolitan Port master plan. With a capacity of 1.6m twenty-foot equivalent units, 10.3m tonnes of dry bulk and a 13-metre draught, the port will give a significant push to economic growth in the region. Businesses in the Madura Strait will benefit greatly, as their transport capacity will triple or quadruple, lowering logistics costs.
However, much more remains to be done. We will need more ports that meet deep draught requirements for domestic and international vessels, equipped with the latest and most efficient technology available. We will also need highly trained workers.
At the same time, greater financial capabilities will be required to support these projects. To that end, Pelindo III has designed a three-to-five-year plan with around $2bn needed in investment. We successfully issued bonds in 2014, receiving great interest from domestic and international parties, and will continue to look for partners to carry out our master plan.
How can strategic foreign partners contribute to the country’s maritime aspirations?
DJARWO: If Indonesia is to fulfil its maritime aspirations, we must continue to closely collaborate with foreign partners. We do not need to reinvent the wheel; the technology is already available. What Indonesia needs is to establish strong partnerships with experts in the field and adapt technology to our requirements.
Pelindo III has established a partnership with French logistics company Gaussin Manugistique to implement an automatic docking system at TLP. Through this collaboration, we will place a greater emphasis on the importance of developing green ports through automation and a gradual reduction in diesel-fuelled electricity generation. After several testing phases in France, we are ready to bring the technology to Indonesia and implement it at TLP. The next step will be to formalise a joint venture between our two organisations and market this technology throughout South-east Asia.
Foreign partners can also help Indonesia reach its maritime aspirations through greater human capital development. We will definitely need to focus on education and on different levels of technical knowledge and skills. Sending our staff abroad for training is just one of the ways in which this can be achieved.
What have historically been the obstacles to lowering sea transportation costs in Indonesia, and what is being done to address these issues?
DJARWO: Sea transportation costs in Indonesia have been unjustifiably high for many years. In fact, today it is less expensive to ship a container from Jakarta to Singapore than from Jakarta to Surabaya. This cannot continue. One of the main reasons that sea transport costs have remained so elevated is a lack of decisive action in port development, stemming from inadequate coordination and cooperation among the different Indonesia Port Corporations (Pelindos), and the central and regional governmental bodies.
We know and understand that each Pelindo has different strategies and objectives; however, we believe that the ultimate goal of establishing Indonesia as a maritime power requires greater communication among all stakeholders. Only then will we be able to solve these issues in a more effective manner.
Pelindo III is very aware of this issue and has therefore established a partnership with Pelindo II to work together, using special port services in a combined manner to achieve the goal of reducing the cost of short sea shipments. This collaboration has already been applied to shipments between South Sumatra and Jakarta, and is set to be extended to Surabaya soon.
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