The government estimates the Jakarta-Surabaya medium-speed train will start operating at the end of 2022 - Photo: Special.

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – The government estimates the Jakarta-Surabaya medium-speed train will start operating at the end of 2022. It’s expected to sign later this year a memorandum of understanding with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to begin construction of the project by the middle of next year.

Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi told reporters in Jakarta days ago that the JICA, a Tokyo-based development assistance fund, was in the middle of completing a comprehensive feasibility study on the train project, which is estimated to take two years to construct and then six months to test before becoming operational in late 2022.

Railtrack construction, he continued, would involve two phases whereby the first phase will build a new rail track from Jakarta to Semarang while the second phase will upgrade the existing rail track from Semarang to Surabaya.

“It’s like how they made the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT). They took a while but we were satisfied with the results because the preparations were well done,” he said after a meeting with Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan.

He added that JICA estimated the project to cost Rp90 trillion (US$6.29 billion) in total but the government would try to keep the price tag below Rp60 trillion. JICA would provide the loans while the government provides the land.

“The investment fund will be used for the construction of the new Jakarta-Semarang railroad. While the Semarang to Surabaya line will use the old rails with reinforcement,” he said. Loans are indeed provided from them, but the land is from us. But there is not much land, only parts that have bends or uphill and this will certainly be released by the Lembaga Manajemen Aset Negara (LMAN), he adds.

The medium-speed train will have average speeds of between 140 and 145 kilometers per hour (kph) with a top speed of 160 kph but the important point, said the minister, was that it could cover Jakarta to Surabaya in less than six hours.

For Indonesia, JICA has prepared $881.15 million in financing for the country’s infrastructure projects, said JICA Indonesia Office Chief Representative Shinichi Yamanaka month ago. Indonesia’s first-ever MRT is one of those undertakings.

He explained that JICA will give further funding for phase two MRT development. The phase two of the project is estimated to value Rp22.5 trillion. Yamanaka is also positive about the MRT development will be on Japan as Indonesia Vice President Jusuf Kalla stated that the MRT will be extended to 200 kilometers in the next 10 years.

Besides, JICA will also give partial financing for the Rp43.2 trillion Patimban Port in Subang district, West Java. The soon-to-be one of Indonesia’s most sophisticated port is going to have 7.5 million teus capacity of containers and 600,000 Completely Built-Up (CBU) vehicles. The progress has only been completed about a dozen percent, while it is expected to start operating by the end of 2019.

Other than that, Jakarta wastewater treatment system and Central Sulawesi reconstruction after the deadly earthquake are also allocated in the funding.

JICA also involves the National Development Planning Ministry’s plan on developing 5 provinces for the United Nation’s program of Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) pilot areas. However, only Jakarta province and Banten province that have been decided, while three others will follow when the project is ongoing.

Indonesia government and JICA will start the program this month and for the next 1.5 year. The project aims to strengthen the SGDs framework implementation. Indonesia may need JICA’s support in determining domestic indicators, formulating an action plan to reach the indicator, also creating monitoring and evaluating systems.

Recently, Indonesia has only collected 85 of 241 SDGs indicators. Moreover, the action plan must be improved for achieving all of the indicators. JICA then will be actively sharing information and the outcome of the projects.

Yamanaka explained that the 5 provinces choices have characteristics for the project implementation. He also expressed his expectation to run the program smoothly and comprehensively.

US$1=Rp14.300

Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: lexy@theinsiderstories.com