JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – PT Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI), a state-owned railways operator, interested in becoming a Jakarta-Bandung express train operator. Previously, the chief executive director Edi Sukmoro revealed that the company wanted to become the operator of the national strategic project.
The Director General of Railways, Ministry of Transportation Zulfikri in Lembang, West Java said last week, that if KAI wanted to become the operator of the train project, it still had to work together with PT Kereta Api Indonesia Cina (KCIC).
The Ministry of Transportation is currently giving permission to KCIC as an business entity. That way, the authority to build, operate, maintain, and seek infrastructure for lanes and buildings until the facilities are in the unit of PT Wijaya Karya Tbk (IDX: WIKA) and other state-owned enterprises.
“Under the rules of the Ministry of Transportation, we can give permits to business entities with the condition that they have cooperated with infrastructure,” he stated.
At present, KAI is still awaiting a decision to become a Jakarta-Bandung express operator. KAI has written to KCIC regarding its interest in becoming a Jakarta-Bandung high-speed train operator.
“There was (offer) at that time but still evaluating or considering the letter. But I have already submitted (KCIC),” Sukmoro said some time ago.
The long waiting for the first fast train in Indonesia seems to be stalling with the resumption of Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway project after delayed for several months on land acquisition and financing issues.
Based on the current development, government revised its target to commence the operation of Jakarta-Bandung HSR in 2024 from initial plan 2020.
China and Indonesia signed an agreement in October 2015 to establish a joint venture to build and operate the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway. The line’s groundbreaking ceremony was held in January 2016. However, construction was postponed due to issues ranging from funding to land acquisition.
The key reason for the delay is not at all surprising: the government blames slow progress in the land clearance process, incomplete talks related to the financing scheme as well as the extension of the line, which is now designed to reach Kertajati Airport in West Java.
Based on government data, so far, the land clearing has only reached 54 kilometers out of total length of 142 kilometers. Otherwise loans from the China Development Bank (CDB) be able to disbursed last April over the various issues on the development.
China Development Bank (CDB) has disbursed US$170 million worth of loan to the developer KCIC, which is the first stage of the total loan $4.5 billion to help fund development of Jakarta-Bandung HSR.
KCIC, which is backed by a consortium consisting of Indonesian and Chinese companies, has developed the first stage of the HSR since 2016. The entire 142.3 kilometer long fast train project is estimated to cost about $5.9 billion, of which $4.5 billion is expected to come from loan from CDB.
China Railway, the world’s largest railway operator, said that the trains will have a maximum design speed of 350 kilometers per hour on the four-stop rail line, and travel time between Jakarta and Bandung is expected to be cut from more than three hours on the current line to about 40 minutes on the high-speed rail line.
Unclear with the completion of Jakarta-Bandung express, now the government has started planning the development of the Jakarta-Surabaya semi-high speed train project with Japan. Minister of Transportation Budi Karya Sumadi has said, the two-phase project is estimated to require an investment of Rp80 Trillion ($5.33 billion) and start to commences this year.
The first phase will reportedly be a Jakarta-Semarang section, which is anticipated to be completed within two years. The second, Semarang-Surabaya phase, will start up construction in 2019.
Sumadi stated that the semi-fast train will be able to cover the Jakarta-Surabaya route within five hours, at a minimum speed of 140 kilometers per hour. In the construction of level crossings, both for flyovers and underpasses, the Ministry will coordinate with the Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing.
Jakarta-Surabaya medium-speed railway facilities are expected to reduce the eight- to nine-hour travel time to only five hours. 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 with displaced railroad crossings as well as setting up overhead electricity lines.
The high-speed train project is a landmark joint effort between Indonesia, China and Japan and also seen as a revolution in the country’s land transportation systems.
With goals to drive the economic growth on the surrounding areas of the railway lines, government expects the construction of this fast train line will materialized soon.