Gridlock to Stay at Tanjung Priok


Vice Finance Minister Mahendra Siregar said that without a “breakthrough” it would be difficult to ease container traffic at Tanjung Priok, Indonesia’s largest port.

Despite recently signed agreements that aim to push down yard occupancy to 85 percent from a current level of around 100 percent, he said that if Indonesia’s economy continued to grow at around 6 percent eash year it was just a matter of time until gridlock at the port took a serious toll.

[At a certain point] it’s not a bottleneck anymore, because the bottle is capped,” he said, exaggerating in order to address the toughness of the problem.

The ministry’s directorate general of customs and excise on July 12 signed three agreements involving14 business entities to free up space at the Jakarta-area port, including by moving 4,500 containers with “long stay” status to Marunda, about 9 kilometers away, and Cikarang an industrial center 35 kilometers from Jakarta in West Java.

At first, I thought moving the long-stay containers to Marunda and Cikarang would solve the problem, but the reality is moving them … isn’t easy, because of the traffic,” Mahendra said.

Pelindo II governs the port but a number of private sector entities play a significant role also, including port management companies.

Business leaders have often complained about the current situation. Sofjan Wanandi, chairman of the Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo), said businesses with their goods stuck in port stood to lose “billions of rupiah.”

For consumers — especially at this time of year when most Indonesians are preparing to spend time at home during the holidays that follow Ramadan — this means a difficult passage to other islands, even when they are nearby, such as Sumatra.

Sofjan said Indonesia can barely compete with other countries in the region on dwelling time, which means the time a ship must spend in port while loading and unloading.

He said approximate dwelling time for Singapore would be one-and-a-half days, for Malaysia three days, and for Thailand four to five days. But in Indonesia, “it could be up to 14 days.”

An island like Java, he said, needed at least 10 ports, to prevent a high-cost economy and cut dwelling time.

Java’s three major ports — Tanjung Priok, near Jakarta, Tanjung Emas in Semarang (Central Java) and Tanjung Perak in Surabaya (East Java) — are all located on the primary thoroughfare running along the island’s northern coast.

Sofjan said more ports were required along that route. “But don’t forget the south. There aren’t any [ports] there now,” he said.








Leave a reply