Kalla, Abe discuss acceleration of Jakarta-Surabaya railway project

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe discussed accelerating the development of medium-speed railway facilities on the Jakarta-Surabaya route during a bilateral meeting in Tokyo, Antara reported.

Kalla said the discussion, focused on accelerating the implementation of the tender after a feasibility study is completed by the end of 2017. Indonesia and Japan will hold another meeting in Jakarta next September to discuss the results of the feasibility study.

The vice president expressed optimism that the development of the project would be accelerated, as Indonesia already has the basic infrastructure, such as railways, stations, and human resources, to operate it.

The Jakarta-Surabaya medium-speed railway facilities are expected to reduce the eight- to nine-hour travel time to only five hours. Previously, Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi noted that there are at least 1,000 railroad crossings on the route between Jakarta and Surabaya.

Moreover, the government should construct a double track and displace railroad crossings as well as set up overhead electricity lines. According to Sumadi, total investment worth Rp80 trillion is needed to develop the medium-speed train project.

Trains on the high-speed network can reach speeds of 350 kilometers per hour, while the medium-speed trains can only reach 160 kilometers per hour.

The 30-minute bilateral meeting between Kalla and Abe not only covered discussions on accelerating the railway project but also touched on investment commitment in the manufacturing sector, efforts to increase the number of Indonesian workers in Japan, and intensifying cooperation during the 60-year commemoration of Indonesia-Japan diplomatic relations.

During his visit to Japan, Kalla also meet the head of Sumitomo-Mitsui Banking Cooperation (SMBC), a Japanese multinational banking and financial services company, highlighted investments in infrastructure sector.

The presidents investment envoy to Japan, Rahmat Gobel, said that a further meeting will be set and attended by President Joko Widodo and three chairmen of the company.

“I have not yet confirmed the information, but the leaders will talk on the fast train project en route Jakarta-Surabaya,” Gobel noted.

Apart from financing the development of ports and Indonesias private businesses, the company has invested in several infrastructure projects, including the construction of Mass Rapid Transportation (MRT) in Jakarta.

According to the Investment Coordination Boards (BKPM) data, Japan ranked as the countrys second largest foreign investor, with US$4.5 billion investment in 2016.