The government will roll out next month its planned car terminal and a one-stop customs service at Jakarta's Tanjung Priok Port as part of efforts to improve the flow of goods in and out of the country.
The special terminal for the export and import of cars at Tanjung Priok, which cost some Rp 200 billion (US$21.5 million) to complete, will be fully operational by September, the Transportation Ministry's director general for sea transportation Harijogi said.
The new port facility will be able to handle 350,000 cars a year.
"It's physically complete, we expect to officially open it soon," Harijogi told reporters Thursday on the sidelines of a workshop on improving seaport services.
"Car terminals are simpler as they do not need a crane (for the loading and unloading of lift-on/lift-off vessels), but only proper docks for roll-on/roll-off ships."
He added that Tanjung Priok's operator, the state-owned PT Pelindo, will also improve the facilities for all types of cargo by 2009.
Car sales in the country reached 198,000 in the first semester of 2007, up 30 percent from the same period last year, the Indonesian Association of Automotive Industries (Gaikindo) says.
Gaikindo expects sales to continue, adding up to 400,000 units by the year end, with the new car terminal helping exports to reach 50,000 vehicles, from 30,000 last year.
Imports of cars have increased from year to year as car manufactures have increased production to keep up with the demand. Many local car makers have also increased their exports to other Asian countries.
Harijago further said that the government would also improve the supporting infrastructure in the vicinity of Tanjung Priok, particularly the access roads to the port, whose deteriorating condition and traffic problems have been the sources of complaints from both exporters and importers.
"We will improve the two-way traffic system at the port to ensure a better outbound and inbound flow of goods," he said. "We will also continue the planned railway works to the port, and improve its security standard according to international lines."
Jakarta's Tanjung Priok Port, the country's largest, serves some 30 million tons of cargo each year, although its problems have seen a drop in recent years.
Apart from physical improvements, the government will in September also try out a one-stop customs service at Tanjung Priok, a pilot-project for its "National Single Window" (NSW) system.
Head of the NSW development taskforce for information technology affairs, Susi Wiyono, said the one-stop customs service will initially be intended just for the country's 99 priority lane importers.
The Finance Ministry's Customs Office also applies "green lanes" and "red lanes", with stricter controls, to a total of 1,623 registered importers. Some 400 exporters have also requested that the priority lanes also apply to them, which the ministry is currently considering due to their contribution to the economy.
Susi further explained that the NSW pilot-project will at first coordinate only five related government agencies, namely the Customs Office, the Trade Ministry, the Food and Drugs Control Agency, as well as the Forestry and Fisheries Quarantine Agencies.
This will cover 75 percent of services from the total 36 agencies intended to eventually be linked up with the NSW system.
"We want to first ensure the availability and reliability of the IT system used and its data," Susi said.
Other NSW pilot projects will in January 2008 be set up at Surabaya's Tanjung Perak, Semarang's Tanjung Mas, and Medan's Belawan seaports. In September 2008, the government expects to implement the NSW for all ports in Indonesia, and in 2009 join the region's ASEAN Single Window system.