As an archipelagic country and one of the worlds largest maritime countries with 5.8 million square kilometers of sea territory, Indonesia could reap tremendous benefits from the sea toll initiated by President Joko Widodo’s administration. The sea toll road transportation program, connects Jakarta’s seaport of Tanjung Priok and Surabaya’s Tanjung Perak in East Java with major ports in Maluku and Papua, in the eastern part of the country, and in Riau Islands. The sea toll road that can connect Sabang-Merauke was envisioned by President Joko Widodo to lessen the price disparity between the eastern part of Indonesia with western part. The development of Sea toll road for Papua is of course a part of the priority. Recently, the Minister of Transportation, Budi Karya Sumadi, said that the sea toll road program has succeeded in lowering some commodities’ prices in the eastern part of Indonesia, including Papua.
Currently in Papua, the price of a number of commodities have decreased due to the presence of sea toll road for Papua. It can be clearly seen that there’s a significant difference from the prices before and after the sea toll road program. The price of cement that was 100,000 IDR/sack becomes 80,000 IDR/sack in Jayapura. Poultry that was sold at 80,000 IDR/kg is now 60,000 IDR/kg. One TEU (Twenty Foot Equivalent Unit) container from Surabaya to Jayapura before sea toll was 23 million IDR/TEU and after sea toll road, it has decreased to 9 million IDR/TEU. The price of beef in Jayapura before sea toll was 150,000 IDR/kg and after the sea toll it has lowered to 125,000 IDR/kg (the price in Java is 100,000 IDR/kg)
The development of sea toll road for Papua has also shown good improvements. One port in wasior has been completed and inaugurated by President Jokowi on 5th of April 2016. Two more ports in Papua are under way to completion. Wasior Port, Teluk Wondama Regency, Papua will be the connecting port in the sea toll program in Papua. In the hierarchy of ports in Papua, Wasior Port is a collecting port and an important one. Wasior Port is one of the 68 ports promised by the Government of Indonesia to be completed at the end of this year, 2016.
Sea toll projects are strategic mega infrastructures for increasing maritime connectivity with a total investment amounting to 699 trillion IDR. Several deep sea ports in Indonesia will also be improved to support this sea toll road concept. They include Kuala Tanjung in North Sumatra, Tanjung Priok in Jakarta, Tanjung Perak in Surabaya, and East Java, in addition to Makassar in South Sulawesi, and in Papua. This year, the government plans to develop 24 seaports to support the project.
Currently, the government has already owned six sailing routes that are all operated by Indonesian National Shipping Company (PT PELNI) using funds from government subsidy. The government plans to add three more routes in 2017.
Here are the route of sea toll roads:
1. Route code T-1: Tanjung Perak-Tual-Fak Fak-Kaimana-Timika-Kaimana-Fak Fak-Tual-Tanjung Perak. (Operated by KM Caraka Jaya Niaga III-32).
2. Route code T-4: Tanjung Priok-Biak-Serui-Nabire-Wasior-Manokwari-Wasior-Nabire-Serui-Biak-Tanjung Priok. (Operated by KM Caraka Jaya Niaga Ill-22).
3. Route code T-6: Tanjung Priok-Kijang- Natuna-Kijang- Tanjung Priok.. (Operated by KM Caraka Jaya Niaga III-4).
President Jokowi has garnered many praises for his vision for the sea toll road program. This program is indeed vital for a vast archipelagic country like Indonesia, where seaports are key to facilitating the smooth distribution of goods. The acute lack of regular inter-island freighter services and inefficient port handling are one of the main causes of the high logistics costs in the country. The government also has put a great deal of resources into improving the performance of seaports to cut down dwelling times for cargo vessels.
The sea toll road, may reduce the country’s logistics costs by 10 to 15 percent, said the Secretary of the Expert Team of the National Logistics System, Nofrisel. The Sea Toll Road program is expected to lower the price gap between the more developed western part of Indonesia and the eastern counterpart by 30 percent, according to Trade Minister Thomas Trikasih Lembong. Currently, between 18 and 22 percent of companies’ production costs in Indonesia are absorbed by logistics costs, particularly due to expensive transportation costs. Hopefully, sea toll road for Papua can give more benefits to the people of Papua.