TO ease Indonesia's congested transport arteries and speed container delivery, Indonesia has been investing in railways.
But unless the last mile rail connections to the ports and major industrial centres are made rail linkages will come to nought, experts say.
State port operator Pelindo III is partnering with train operator PT Kereta Api Indonesia's (KAI) to reactivate a long-suspended container train service at Surabaya's Tanjung Perak Port.
The service, to be operated by KAI's logistics unit PT Kereta Api Logistik together with Pelindo III's subsidiary, PT Terminal Petikemas Surabaya, will serve the busy Surabaya-Jakarta route with a twice daily service.
It will connect the port with the nearby Petikemas Surabaya train station and run 15 to 30 railcars with an annual capacity of 43,800 TEU, reported the UK's Seatrade Global.
Construction of the northern section of the Jakarta-Surabaya double track railway that begun in 2011 has been completed while the southern Java line is to be operational in 2017.
The US$773 million northern Java corridor line is to be able to run 200 trains a day and double freight capacity to 6,000 TEU per week.
The key to the success of these new rail infrastructure projects is how they will connect to the ports. The transport ministry is reportedly planning to reopen inactive railroads to facilitate this.
These include the 45-kilometre track from Cianjur to Padalarang (West Java), the 33-kilometre track from Surakarta to Wonogiri (Central Java), the 30-kilometre track from Kedungjati to Tuntang (Central Java) and the nine-kilometre track from Jakarta Kota to Tanjung Priok.
The major hurdle in realising these goals is land acquisition. For example, in Jakarta, the effort to connect the railway line with the port of Tanjung Priok has been delayed by land acquisition problems, especially due to the Mbah Priok graveyard being in the way.
Efforts are underway to build a railway line from Cikarang to Jakarta's new port of Kalibaru, but in Cirebon, near where the shelved Cilamaya port project may relocate to, reactivation of the existing line has met resistance from local government.
Source : HKSG.