Indonesia's Pelni eyeing short sea routes as market opens up
Vincent Wee, Hong Kong :
Indonesian state-owned shipping firm PT Pelni is looking to capitalise on the Transportation Ministry’s planned change in policy to encourage short-sea shipping policy by offering to carry more cargo on its ferries, local reports said.
This would also help make up for declining revenue from that sector as budget airlines take away business from its traditional inter-island ferry services and the company wants to boost the share of cargo revenue to 50% from 30% currently.
Pelni’s operations director, Setyabudi, was quoted as saying that it had filed a proposal with the ministry to operate a short-sea shipping service from Jakarta to East Java to help reduce congestion and road damage along Java’s northern coastal highway, also known as Pantura. “Our vessels could be used as an initial pilot for the short-sea shipping service should the ministry aim to procure new ships to support the policy,” Setyabudi said.
He added that Pelni’s modified ship Ceremai was able to transport 67 containers, 12 trucks, 46 cars, 300 motorcycles and more than 1,300 passengers per voyage from Jakarta to East Java. “If the ship could serve 87 voyages per year then, based on our calculations, the cost to operate the ship would reach around IDR145bn ($12.5m) per year, which is much more efficient than the cost of maintaining Pantura, which reaches more than IDR1trn per year,” he said.
As well as reducing congestion along Pantura, the ministry plans to implement the policy next year to help decrease the country’s logistical costs and also improve maritime industry.
However, Setyabudi said that Pelni had not yet been tasked with serving the coastal shipping service. “By the time we are tasked [with the project], we will be ready to support it because we believe that Indonesia’s domestic connectivity should be fully ready ahead of the implementation of regional connectivity,” he said.PT Pelni turned in a IDR630bn loss last year, as increasing fuel prices and the depreciation of the rupiah against the US dollar squeezed its revenue.
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