Four of the busiest airports in the country will get tightened cargo security this year to enhance screening of dangerous items, a move that raises concerns from businesspeople who say the extra measure will make the current “slow” service even less efficient.
Transportation Ministry’s director for aviation security Mangiring Sidabutar said that six regulated cargo inspection agents are set to work in Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar, Bali; Sepinggan Airport in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan; Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport in Makassar, South Sulawesi and Syamsuddin Noor Airport in Banjarmasin.
At present, an air cargo management system has only been implemented at two airports: the main gateway, Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Cengkareng, Banten, and Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, East Java. There are 11 and two cargo inspection agents in Soekarno-Hatta and Juanda, respectively, he said.
“We expect more airports to implement this system in the future because it is proven to enhance aviation safety in Soekarno-Hatta and Juanda as we could detect more dangerous stuff, like drugs, bullets, and other chemical components that danger planes,” he said.
The government, through an air transportation director general’s regulation issued in October 2011 introduced a new system for cargo inspections, which included scanning single packages with X-ray machines conducted by regulated agents for cargo inspections rather than warehouse operators. The government will charge about Rp 450 (5 US cents) per kilogram for the inspection.
They expect the regulation could be implemented in every airport across the archipelago gradually starting from April.
Indonesian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) deputy chairman for air transport, who also chairs the Indonesian Express Delivery Companies’ Association (Asperindo), Muhammad Kadrial, said that the government should fix existing problems first, such as slow service and high tariffs, before urging more airports to implement extra measures.
Kadrial said the new system would make cargo traffic inefficient for the businesspeople because it would add four to six hours inspection time.
In addition, he said that Rp 450 charge per kilogram was considered too expensive.
“We believe that the new inspection system is good because it is aimed at improving security in the aviation industry, but we need a fast service with affordable tariff because we are dealing with logistics costs issue,” he told The Jakarta Post over the phone.
He said that the slow service and expensive charge would only worsen the logistics sector in the country that currently account for 17 percent of the price of most goods while Southeast Asian countries average costs stand at around 10 percent.
“The Sislognas [National Logistics System] is created to improve the [logistics] sector, but we see a lot of counterproductive implementation in the field such as in the aviation security. This makes the businesspeople confused,” he went on, adding that the highest tariff for cargo inspection should be Rp 125 a kilogram.
Maringing, however, said that the current tariff was relatively low because in Singapore and Hong Kong the price was Rp 280 and Rp 7,000, respectively.