The government is to develop the Kuala Tanjung port in Batu Bara regency, North Sumatra, and the Bitung port in North Sulawesi into world-class harbors, an official at the Transportation Ministry said Friday.
Speaking to The Jakarta Post after visiting the 10 November Institute of Technology Surabaya (ITS), East Java, Sea Transportation director general Sunaryo said both ports had been in the process of expansion and improvement of supporting facilities.
Among other facilities being expanded and improved include the cargo piers and a number of other sophisticated devices needed to speed up the loading and unloading processes.
“Our target is to have both ports ready for operation by 2015. The development concept is currently being deliberated between the central government and PT Pelindo,” he said, referring to the state seaport operator.
At present, Kuala Tanjung port can only accommodate ships less than 5,000 deadweight tonnage (DWT).
With the planned development it is designed to accommodate ships of between 30,000 DWT and 40,000 DWT.
Sunaryo said that once Kuala Tanjung and Bitung were increased into international-class ports, they were expected to help improve the state income by US$3 billion to $4 billion annually through the trade sector including transportation of coal by domestic ships.
“The development of Bitung port, in particular, is also designated to answer the economic growth in the Singapore, Johor and Riau regions,” he said.
He added that the 32nd ASEAN Port Association Working Committee (APA-WCM) meeting in Medan, North Sumatra, recently, had also considered the development of Bitung Port urgent.
Sunaryo said the government this year was to build 50 new ports across the archipelago and to improve 44 pilot ports. Indonesia at present has 111 commercial ports and 614 non-commercial ones.
To improve the pilot ports, Sunaryo said, Indonesia would need around Rp 1 billion to Rp 2 billion in funds. For port construction, some funds would be given to the respective regional administrations. “We will ease the licensing process for the development of new ports. I also have instructed all pilot ports to serve passengers for 24 hours,” he said.
Separately, president director of state-owned shipping company PT Pelni, Jussabella Sahea, said to help narrow the economic disparity between regions in the country, his company had modified multi-purpose ships to transport passengers and cargo.
“Since mid-2010 we have been serving the Jakarta-Papua cargo and passenger route. The multipurpose ships are capable of accommodating 98 containers,” he said.
PT Pelni, he said, at present had 27 ships serving various domestic routes including to Miangas, an outermost island in Nanusa district, Talaud Islands regency, North Sulawesi province, which directly borders the Philippines.
“We will continue serving the routes to Indonesia’s outermost islands because, according to a survey conducted by the ITS, such passenger and cargo services can improve the economy of local people fourfold,” he said.