INDONESIAN President Joko Widodo threatens to sack cabinet ministers if they fail to cut dwell time at Jakarta's Tanjung Priok Port, reports London's Container Management Magazine.
Mr Widodo said that he was well aware of the legendary delays at Indonesia's largest and busiest the port which handles two-thirds of the nation's international trade.
His own experience running a furniture export business has taught him that much, but now that it is costing the country US$58 billion, he says heads will roll if it is not fixed.
"The process takes too long because the people handling it don't want to move fast," he told reporters. "Dwell time is an average of 5.5 days - the longest in Asia, while some items take up to a month to clear customs."
Mr Widodo said that he will not hesitate to fire such officials. "If they have to be dismissed then they will be [and] if any director general or even minister does not give a fast service, then I will do what I have said," he said.
The president had visited Tanjung Priok for a "detailed check on several activities" and to ask port officials "to solve the problems causing long dwell times and inefficiency at the port".
Port officials glossed over the problems and dared not answer his question about why long delays had persisted and that the situation had provoked him to find the answer by himself, and in his own way.
He had previously asked officials to reduce container loading and unloading times to the levels achieved in neighbouring countries.
"The average dwell time at Tanjung Priok should be brought down to 4.7 days if Indonesia was to be competitive with Singapore and Malaysia," he said.
"Don't say everything's fine. The reality is that [Indonesia] is lagging far behind. So who? Customs or trade? Who should I be speaking to?" he said, repeating the question several times.
There was no response from any of the officials.
In July this year (2015) container handling will be transferred to Phase 1 of the new Kalibaru container port seven kilometres to the west.
Currently under construction, Kalibaru is an expansion of Tanjung Priok and the first terminal will have a capacity of 1.5 million TEU.
PT Pelabuhan Indonesia II (Pelindo II), the Indonesia Port Corporation (IPC), has appointed Japanese conglomerate Mitsui Co to jointly operate the first container terminal at Kalibaru. IPC will own a 51 per cent stake in the joint venture and Mitsui will hold the remaining 49 per cent.
After the first terminal is completed, Mitsui will build two other container terminals with an additional capacity of 4.5 million TEU with completion currently scheduled for 2018.
Source : HKSG.