Echoing many previous calls, exasperated exporters and logistics firms called on the government on Friday to do something to eliminate mind-numbing bureaucracy and improve abysmal cargo handling services at the country’s main seaports.
Congestion at Indonesia’s major ports, particularly Tanjung Priok in Jakarta, the country’s busiest, poses major obstacles to exporters and importers in attempting to get their goods quickly to the market.
“It is deplorable given the current slowdown in exports and imports that Jakarta’s main port is still plagued by heavy congestion in its cargo handling facilities and yards,” Toto Dirgantoro, the deputy chairman of the Indonesian Exporters’ Association, or GPEI, said on Friday.
Given the current reduction in throughput, he said, now was an excellent time for the Tanjung Priok port authorities to streamline bureaucracy and improve facilities, including expanding the cargo-handling yards.
The continuing congestion comes against a backdrop of falling exports, indicated by the arrival of fewer foreign-flagged container vessels, as reported recently by the operators of the Koja Container Terminal and the Jakarta International Container Terminal, or JICT, both located at the Tanjung Priok port complex.
Exporters and logistics firms say that congestion at the country’s ports continues to a major problem, despite the government setting up a special task force, known as the Export and Investment Promotion Committee, to accelerate the flow of goods through the ports. The committee is made up of members drawn from the relevant ministries.
Separately, Mahendra, a spokesman for the Indonesian Logistics Association, or ALI, said that to improve the flow of exports and imports, better arrangement of vessel departure schedules would be required.
“Most vessels carrying exports are scheduled to depart the port at the same times on Fridays and Sundays,” he said, adding that sailings also needed to be scheduled for other days, such as Mondays or Tuesdays, to alleviate congestion.
Mahendra said that badly thought-out schedules, protracted customs clearance procedures and slow turnaround time presented major problems for logistics firms, which work to tight delivery schedules.
Trade Minister Mari Pangestu earlier this week called on the Indonesian Young Entrepreneurs’ Association, or Hipmi, and the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, or Kadin, to provide her with recommendations for the designing of a blueprint for the development of the national logistics industry.
Such a blueprint will help the government and exporters to cope with the challenges of global free trade, Mari said.
For its part, Hipmi urged the government to continue modernizing Tanjung Priok port and its cargo handling facilities, and to urgently upgrade road access to expressway level.
In its statement, Hipmi said that the government needed to draw up a master plan for the development of Tanjung Priok, including the diversion of goods to other ports in Java so as to ease pressure on the Jakarta port.