Sorong Port delayed due to land problems


State-owned port operator PT Pelindo II, or the Indonesia Port Corporation (IPC), said the construction of Sorong Port in West Papua would be delayed until 2013 from its original plan for the fourth quarter of this year due to problems with land acquisition.

Pelindo II corporate secretary Yan Budi Santoso said problems had occurred because the new port was to be constructed on land belonging to indigenous people.

“Most of the area where we will construct the port belongs to the local people and we have found that it is not that easy to convince them that the project will benefit them,” Yan said in Jakarta. He said the company was currently holding a series of meetings with the local owners of the land to explain the importance of the project for the local economy.

“We are ready to construct the port, but we cannot force the people who claim to own the land to leave immediately,” he said.

Despite the issue, he remained upbeat that the project would be started in early 2013.

The port, which will have the capacity to receive 500,000 containers of twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), needs around 7,500 hectares, leaving the possibility for future expansion.

Pelindo II, which is working in conjunction with another state seaport operator, PT Pelindo IV, and five shipping companies — PT Meratus Line, PT Salam Pacific Indonesia Line, PT Samudera Indonesia, PT Tanto Intim Line and PT Tempuran Mas — is spending Rp 1 trillion (US$104 million) on building the port.

“Based on the company’s plan, this port will commence operations by the end of 2014 to help reduce logistics costs in the eastern part of Indonesia,” he added.

When the port started operating, it would cut logistics costs in the region by 50 percent, he said.

Sorong has been designated as a regional hub in the east, linking the regency with other parts of the archipelago, including Bitung, Jakarta, Merauke, Jayapura and Surabaya, as well as neighboring countries, such as Papua New Guinea and Australia.

The port will also support the establishment of Papua and Maluku’s economic development corridor, one of six corridors launched by the government through its Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesia’s Economic Development (MP3EI) program.

In addition, Yan said the company would start ground breaking for the country’s largest port, namely Kalibaru Port or the New Priok, at the end of this month.

“Kalibaru is our priority now because Tanjung Priok Port has been operating [for some time] at overcapacity and the [container] traffic keeps increasing every year,” he said.

According to Pelindo II data, container traffic at Tanjung Priok reached 5.8 million TEUs throughout 2011, a 23 percent increase from 4.7 million TEUs in 2010. That figure is expected to reach 6.5 million TEUs by the end of this year.


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