The Jakarta Post
Kuala Tanjung Port in Batubara regency, North Sumatra, which is touted to be Indonesia’s largest port next to the country's main gateway, Tanjung Priok Port in North Jakarta, is to soon be in full operation.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is planning to soon inaugurate the new port, which is to serve as an international hub for the western areas of the archipelago and is expected to help boost the region's export activities and tourism industry.
Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said the port, which is already in use, was ready for official inauguration.
"The Kuala Tanjung Port has begun operations. The President will hopefully inaugurate the port in two or three weeks from now after we fix some problems at the port," Luhut told reporters during his visit to the port last week.
Luhut said the Kuala Tanjung port was expected to reduce logistic costs, which in turn would decrease commodity prices by 35 to 55 percent.
He also expressed hope that the port would boost North Sumatra's tourism sector. Despite acknowledging there was insufficient tourism infrastructure, he said cruise ships could now drop anchor at the port.
"The depth of the water at the port is about 16 to 17 meters mean low water spring, meaning that big ships, including cruise ships with 3,000 to 5,000 passengers, can now moor there," Luhut said, adding that he had asked Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi to optimize the development of the Kuala Tanjung Port's tourism potential.
A number of cruise ships dropped anchor at the Kuala Tanjung Port last year, bringing in tourists from Malaysia, Singapore and Australia. Aside from visiting Southeast Asia's largest lake, Lake Toba, the foreign tourists also visited tourist attractions in Medan, the capital of the North Sumatra province, which had 231,465 foreign tourist arrivals last year.
In terms of export activities, a Taipei-based Wan Hai Line vessel weighing 50,000 gross tons had moored twice at the port to transport products from the region to China. It was the largest ship to have docked at any seaport on Sumatra.
The Wan Hai 507 vessel, with a capacity of 4,500 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), moored for the first time at the Kuala Tanjung Multipurpose Terminal on Dec. 27 last year to transport 205 TEUs of crude palm oil derivative products.
The vessel, with a length overall of 268 meters, moored for the second time at the port on Feb. 14 to transport 261 TEUs of similar products.
Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said the Kuala Tanjung Port would help reduce the length of time to move shipments. Shipping goods from Sumatra through Kuala Tanjung to Shanghai in China, for example, could now take eight days, as compared to the 12 days needed from the nearby Belawan Port.
State-owned port company Pelindo 1's operational and commercial director, Syahputera Sembiring, said the port, which had a terminal with a capacity of 600,000 TEUs, was equipped with modern infrastructure, including an integrated information technology system.
“We have facilitated the multipurpose terminal with electric cranes, each with a capacity to lift containers of up to 45 feet," he said.
He said facilities with advanced technology at the terminal would ease the loading and unloading of goods. The facilities include three ship-to-shore cranes, eight automated rubber-tired gantry cranes, two mobile harbor cranes, 21 truck terminals and terminals for containers and dry bulk goods.
The multipurpose terminal has a 30,000-square-meter dock, a 2.8-kilometer trestle for four truck lanes with a width of 18.5 meters and four lines of 8-inch pipe racks.
"We expect the Kuala Tanjung Port to boost North Sumatra's economy and lower logistics costs," Syahputera said. (ars)