The Sea Toll Road program marks a concrete step forward in President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's plan to turn Indonesia into a global maritime axis. (GA Photo/Mohammad Defrizal)

Govt Kicks Off Sea Toll Road Program

BY :TABITA DIELA

NOVEMBER 04, 2015

Jakarta. The Indonesian government has launched a program called the "Sea Toll Road" as part of President Joko Widodo's maritime ambitions in boosting the economy by improving connectivity between its islands.

Joko has since his presidential campaign last year vowed to turn Indonesia into a global maritime axis partly by building and modernizing the archipelago's ports, which will in turn improve maritime connectivity and commerce.

The Sea Toll Road program is expected to lower the price gap between the more developed western part of Indonesia and its struggling eastern counterpart by 30 percent, according to Trade Minister Thomas Trikasih Lembong.

“The Trade Ministry will take on the role of coordinator of this initiative... to ensure the availability and prices stability of imported goods," Thomas told reporters at a joint launching event between the Trade Ministry, Transportation Ministry and state-owned shipping firm Pelni in Tanjung Priok port, North Jakarta.

The latter was chosen by Transportation Minister Ignasius Jonan to take charge of shipping services for the program.

Pelni's Caraka Jaya Niaga 111-32 cargo vessel will handle shipments from East Java's Tanjung Perak port to Tual in Maluku as well as Fakfak, Kaimana and Timika in Papua. The Caraka Jaya 111-22 will travel from Jakarta's Tanjung Priok port to Biak, Serui and Nabire in Papua, and Wasior and Manokwari in West Papua. The final ship, the Ceraka Jaya 111-4, will deliver goods from Tanjung Priok to Kijang and Natuna, Riau Islands.

Vessels embarking from Tanjung Priok are set to carry 41 containers of various staple foods, such as sugar, rice, flour, cooking oil, eggs and onions, as well as steel, plywood and cement. The Caraka Jaya Niaga 111-32 leaving Tanjung Perak will transport 36 containers.

Costing Rp 8 million ($587) per shipment, the Sea Toll Road  program is a cheaper alternative to current routes, which charge Rp 48 million ($3,528) per shipment, Thomas said.

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