Pelni modifies passenger ships to survive rough business


As more passengers opt for air transportation, state owned shipping company, PT Pelni plans to modify more ships next year so they can carry passengers and containers to help boost business.

President director Jussabella Sahea said the firm would modify three ships: Sinabung, Lawit and Tatamailau in 2013.

“Modifying ships is the best solution to help boost business because people now prefer to travel by air. This is certainly going to be our business model in the future,” Jussabella said in Jakarta on Friday on the sidelines of an e-ticketing agreement with state owned postal firm PT Pos Indonesia.

She said the company, which in the past played an important role in the country’s sea transportation, especially from Java to the eastern part of the country, has so far modified its largest ship, Gobonsolo, to transport people and cargo within Indonesian waters.

Currently, they are modifying another large ship, Ciremai, which is expected to be completed in

“By the end of this year, we are going to operate two modified ships, just as we planned early this year, and we believe they will help boost our revenue,” she said.

As of today, Pelni operates 31 ships consisting of 25 passenger ships (two of which have been modified into a 2-in-1 ship that carries passengers and cargo), three units of RORO (roll on, roll off) ships and three ships operating in sea pioneer routes in the Riau Islands, Maluku and Papua.

In addition, she said that the firm planned to create a 3-in-1 ship that would carry passengers, cargoes and livestock.

“We also plan to modify our ships into 3-in-1 ships because there is a demand from the market to transport livestock in the country,” she added.

However, she said that Pelni would not modify all of its passenger ships because sea transportation remains important for people, especially during holiday seasons.

According to Pelni financial director Wibisono, the company started to book profits after they modified their ships.

He said they booked Rp 26 billion (US$2.7 million) net profits in the first month of this year after suffering losses in previous years. “The figure is not big, but we will be able to increase our profits as we continue to diversify our business,” he said.

The company has set a target to book Rp 2.2 trillion in revenue this year, up from Rp 1.9 trillion last year.

Moreover, Jussabella said that the firm had recently started to provide meeting packages on a ship to cater the country’s growing meeting, incentives, convention, exhibition (MICE) industry.

She said the response was positive and that a few companies have already used the service.

“Our ship, Lambelu, recently hosted a cruise ship operators seminar. We provided all meeting facilities to our customers during their journey from Jakarta to Surabaya [of East Java],” she said.

She also said that Pelni planned to enter the cruise business in the future, offering leisure trips for both domestic and foreign tourists to several exotic places.



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