Investors in the Banyuwangi province in East Java have been reluctant to use Tanjung Wangi as an alternative seaport for exports and imports despite a efforts by the government to promote the port.
Chairman of the East Java provincial branch of Indonesian Trade and Commerce (Kadin) Erlangga said the absence of reliable, fixed schedules for cargo ships and generally poor service at the seaport did not assure traders that their goods would be handled properly and efficiently.
"It is relatively more efficient and quicker for investors in Probolinggo, Jember, Lumajang, Situbondo and Banyuwangi to import goods and export products through Tanjungperak seaport, even though they have to pay additional costs. The traffic through that area was disturbed by the Lapindo mudflow," Erlangga said.
"Exporters want their goods to be shipped smoothly and handled correctly," he told The Jakarta Post in Banyuwangi on Tuesday.
Erlangga said he understood that cargo vessels had irregular schedules at the new seaport because investors and port authorities had offered no guarantees on the amount of goods to be shipped through the port.
The government and state-owned PT Pelabuhan III had to invest more in adequate equipment and facilities, he said, including a standard container terminal and a one-roof service to ensure the proper management of the port.
The seaport, constructed in June 2003, had not functioned optimally since the arrival of foreign and local vessels supplying goods to the region and Bali.
The administrator of the Tanjung Wangi port Bambang Setyo Utomo said he had identified a number of problems which were deterring investors and shipping companies from using the seaport.
"We have identified at least five main factors which have hindered Tanjung Wangi from developing into an alternative seaport. They are the seaport's limited capacity, the absence of a one-roof service for export and import documentation, taxes and excises, limited facilities at the container terminal and limited access to security and legal certainties," he said.
Bambang said the loading and unloading facilities at the container terminal included two each stackers capable of moving 40 tons of material, one forklift, four head trucks, two container slings and a heavy-equipment crane.
He said the seaport could function if all stakeholders, especially Pelabuhan III, shipping companies and exporters and investors, were ready to enhance cooperation and develop the seaport according to international standards.