State-owned train company PT KAI will provide logistics services to the country's major companies after the full operation of the Trans-Java double-track line connecting Jakarta to Surabaya in East Java.
KAI spokesperson Sugeng Priyono said on Wednesday that several companies, including state-owned steel producer Krakatau Steel and cement producer PT Semen Gresik had expressed interest in using KAI's logistics services by the time the double track was fully operational later this month.
'We may have to add more locomotives and flat cars, but it all depends on the demand. We have not yet finalized the contracts with these companies,' Sugeng told The Jakarta Post.
'Over the past three years, we have actually prepared around 100 locomotives and 1,200 flat cars that will be used to support the double tracks,' he said.
Deputy Transportation Minister Bambang Susantono previously said that there were at least 24 companies on the waiting list to use the train service. However, not all of them could be catered to due to the limited capacity, he said.
'Therefore, KAI bought new locomotives and flat cars, set to be based in South Sumatra to transport coal and also in Java to support the double track,' Bambang said.
Bambang said that the Trans-Java double track, which stretches 727 kilometers from Jakarta to Surabaya through Java's northern coastal area ( Pantura ), would be able to transport around 1 million containers a year.
'The number of containers that arrived at Tanjung Priok reached 6 million annually, while those that entered Tanjung Perak [East Java] reached 3 million. Some of these containers are transported between the two ports. With the double track, the road traffic between the two ports would be reduced,' he said.
Transportation Ministry railway director Hanggoro Budi Wiryawan said that the ministry would revise the train schedule by April 25, following the increased capacity and reduced traveling hours due to the operation of the double track from Jakarta to Kandangan in Surabaya.
The double track has been partly operated. The operation is awaiting the completion of several sections including Babat-Duduk and Kandangan-Pasarturi.
The ministry was planning to commence the operation of the 15 km Duduk-Kandangan section on April 17 and the 45 km Babat-Duduk section on April 24. The final 8 km Kandangan-Pasarturi, Surabaya section was scheduled to start operation in May.
The double track would increase the existing railway capacity from 84 trains to 200 trains per day and reduce road congestion.
The current freight train frequency from Jakarta to Surabaya is five trips per day with a capacity of 160 twenty-foot equivalent units ( TEUs ). By the time the double track is ready, the freight train frequency will be increased to 15 trips per day with a capacity of 500 TEUs.
The Rp 10.5 trillion ( US$918.19 million ) project is also expected to reduce travel time between Jakarta and Surabaya from between 11 to 13 hours to only between eight to 10 hours.
Sugeng meanwhile said that the government had to ensure that rail access to the main ports would be ready soon, otherwise companies would remain reluctant to shift from road to railway.
'If direct access to ports in Cirebon, Semarang, Tanjung Priok and Surabaya are not yet in place then the logistics cost of using the railway will be more expensive than using roads as they [the companies] would be charged with double handling,' Sugeng said.