Eastern Indonesia is currently set to prepare for the acceleration of the “sea toll road” maritime program initiated by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.
As many as 11 major and feeder ports are currently being modernized to ease passenger traffic from the western to eastern parts of Indonesia and vice versa.
Besides passenger terminals, 13 ports will be specially designed to facilitate cargo handling. The ports are in two of the working regions of state-run port management firm PT Pelabuhan Indonesia (Pelindo).
The 11 seaports, which will be designed to facilitate passenger traffic in eastern Indonesia, are Tanjung Perak (Surabaya), Benoa (Bali), Makassar, Bitung, Manado, Tarakan, Pare-Pare, Sorong, Ambon, Biak and Ternate.
The 13 ports designed to expedite freighting in eastern Indonesia are Tanjung Perak (Surabaya), Tenau (Kupang), Batulicin (Kotabaru) in South Kalimantan, Bagendang (Sampit) and Bumiharjo (Kumai) in Central Kalimantan and Lembar (Mataram), in addition to the seven ports of Bitung, Sorong, Makassar, Pare-Pare, Kendari, Pantoloan and Dede Tolitoli, all within the Pelindo IV Makassar jurisdiction.
Pelindo III Surabaya spokesman Edi Priyanto said his firm was currently refurbishing Tanjung Perak Port and Benoa Port.
“Benoa is focused on expediting passenger traffic because it is a gateway for tourists to Bali. Tourists are more dominant than goods, while Tanjung Perak Port will focus on both tourists and goods,” Edi told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
Optimizing the major and feeder ports was necessary to be in line with Jokowi’s concept of Indonesia becoming renowned once more as a global maritime axis, he added.
The same was expressed by acting assistant corporate secretary of communication affairs of PT Pelindo IV Makassar Anna Maryani.
Pelindo IV Makassar is currently focusing on improving the capacity of 10 major and feeder ports to facilitate passenger and cargo traffic served by vessels owned by state shipping line PT Pelni and cruise ships carrying foreign tourists.
Earlier, Pelindo III Surabaya managing director Djarwo Surjanto said his firm had prepared investments of up to US$1 billion, or Rp 10 trillion, to develop international-standard ports, as well as to support the government’s sea turnpike program.
“Starting next year, we will accelerate port improvements in support of the sea turnpike program, as well as to greet the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015,” said Djarwo.
He added the funding was derived from profits, bank loans and corporate measures, such as bonds and obligations.
During the same occasion, President Jokowi’s transition team member Andrinof Chaniago, who is now national development planning minister, said the sea toll road concept could turn Indonesia into a world maritime axis, thanks to its position in the middle of the biggest oceans and flanked by the Asian and Australian continents.
Andrinof said the ports should improve passenger services to provide balance.