Jakarta to build $870m seaport

The new port, to be completed by 2010, will relieve overcrowding at the Tanjung Priok terminal and compete with other regional ports.

Indonesia is planning to build a new multi-million-dollar seaport here to alleviate congestion at its Tanjung Priok terminal as well as to compete with other regional ports.

Estimated at US$500 million (S$870 million), the Jakarta New Port project covers an area of 245ha in East Ancol in the northern part of the capital.

Local newspaper reports said that a consortium of Indonesian and Japanese companies will begin construction in December to build the port over five stages.

The first phase of the project, including construction of a 600m-long quay for a car and passenger terminal, will be finished in 2006, but the entire project to build 15 terminals will only be completed by 2010.

Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso said that the new port will support the operations of the overcrowded Tanjung Priok harbour, shortening the docking time of incoming vessels and providing low-cost loading and unloading services.

‘Tanjung Priok has not expanded after 150 years in operation and is no longer efficient,’ he said earlier this week at the project launch.

Currently, most ships arriving in Jakarta use the Tanjung Priok Port. Shippers complain it could take up to a week to get cargo unloaded.

When the new port is ready, ships could be in and out in as little as 12 hours.

The rationale stems from the need to speed up cargo services and increase the competitiveness of the country’s shipping and industrial sectors.

‘It will make the industrial sector more competitive, especially in the auto industry,’ he said.

‘When I was in Japan recently, I observed operations in the Yokohama Port. It was smooth and goods got moved out in hours, not days, as is the case in Tanjung Priok,’ he said.

‘Our current port is just not competitive.’

Indeed, a motivating factor for the project is to compete with other Asian countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea to be a regional hub for shipping.

Mr Sutiyoso said the idea for the Jakarta New Port was also influenced by the Asean Free Trade Area’s requirement for more efficient ports to encourage free trade in the region.

‘We need to ensure that our port facilities match that of other Asian countries so that we can ensure greater exports and imports through Jakarta,’ he said.

Reinforcing this point, Mr Oentoro Surya, chairman of the Indonesian National Ship Owners Association, said the new terminals could serve as a trans-shipment port in Asean for container ships.

The Jakarta Post said the port would share its 15 berths along a 5.2km-long quay with the Indonesian navy’s Western Fleet, which currently operates 30 patrol vessels.

‘Within five years, we will upgrade the fleet to about 140,’ said the fleet commander, First Admiral Moeklas Sidik.

The English-language daily also noted that the port is part of a huge waterfront reclamation project which includes housing, hotels, a marina, an industrial zone, offices and shopping malls and covering about 2,700ha.

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