Belawan Port records 10% cargo traffic growth in Q3


Container traffic in North Sumatra’s Belawan, which mostly handles crude palm oil (CPO) and rubber, grew by 10.2 percent in the third quarter alone despite a global commodity market slowdown.

The traffic during July–September this year reached 680,828 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs), equal to 552,622 containers, up from 614,294 TEUs compared to the same period in 2012, according to data from PT Pelabuhan Indonesia (Pelindo I), a state-owned company that operates the sea port.

Pelindo I spokesman Muhammad Eriansyah also attributed the traffic increase to newly installed cranes and other facilities at Belawan International Container Terminal (BICT).

He could not provide data from January to September.

“The new equipment and facilities] help the port work more efficiently as well as handle more containers,” he said.

Indonesia is the world’s largest CPO producer and second-largest rubber producer, after Thailand.

The country’s CPO exports had seen a decline in volume on a month-to-month basis in the early months of the year because of slow demand in the global market.

CPO exports only started to pick up in September and continued to October, thanks to a delay in the harvest of soybean in the US and sunflower seed in Russia and the Ukraine.

However, CPO exporters still managed to post 19.8 percent growth in volume, with 17.19 million tons in the first 10 months of this year, up from 14.34 million tons booked in the same period last year, according to Indonesian Palm Oil Association (GAPKI) data.

In the meantime, the firm is also working on the BICT expansion project to accommodate more ships and help ease congestion at the port, according to Eriansyah.

“We expect to finish the project by the end of 2016 to anticipate surging demand in the future,” he continued.

The project is expected to bring an additional capacity of 800,000 TEUs to the terminal. BICT has a total annual capacity of 1.2 million TEUs at present.

The firm is collaborating with the Transportation Ministry and two state-owned construction firms, Wijaya Karya and Hutama Karya, for the Rp 3 trillion (US$249 million) project.

Moreover, Pelindo I’s newly expanded Perawang Terminal in Riau recorded 140 percent traffic growth in the third quarter of 2013 to 41,066 containers, from 17,104 containers in the same period in 2012.

Eriansyah said the firm was going to further expand the terminal next year to help anticipate rising demand from the CPO industry.

Besides Belawan, Pelindo I manages 12 other ports in the country, such as Tanjung Pinang Port and Tanjung Balai Karimun Port in the Riau Islands, Lhokseumawe Port in Aceh, Sibolga Port in North Sumatra and Dumai Port in Riau.

The port operator plans to establish two new subsidiaries next year, a hospital and a logistics management company, to help







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