New era for W Papua in Rail Transportation

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The year 2019 is expected to be a new era for the Indonesian province of West Papua in terms of railway project, after years of experiencing difficult transportation problems. The commencement of railway projects in West Papua in 2019 will increase the length of the railway line and will be a new era in railway transportation history since the first railway lines in Indonesia were constructed during the Dutch colonial rule.

History recorded that on June 7, 1864, governor general Baron Sloet van den Beele initiated the first railway line in Indonesia on Kemijen village in Semarang, Central Java. It began operations on Aug 10, 1867, in Central Java, connecting the first built Semarang station to Tanggung for 25 kilometers. By May 21, 1873, the line was connected to Solo, in Central Java, and was later extended to Yogyakarta. By the 1920s, the system in Java had reached its greatest extent, with most towns and cities connected by rail, with branches and tramways connecting sugar plantations to factories.

And now the railway project will be expanded to areas outside Java and reach remote areas in West Papua Province. The Central government has asked the regional administration of West Papua to accelerate preparation for the project to build railway track in the province.

The instruction from Jakarta will be on land clearing where the main tracks would be built and would pass through the city of Sorong, Sorong District, South Sorong, Maybrat, Teluk Bintuni, South Manokwari, and Manokwari. The main track would extend between the city of Sorong and the city of Manokwari.

West Papua Transportation Office Chief Agustinus Kadakolo remarked in Manokwari on Monday that the groundbreaking of the railway project in the province will be carried out in 2019. According to Kadakolo, the first phase of the construction of the railway line will be carried out around 100 kilometers from Sorong City. (ant)


Strengthening connectivity becomes a challenge

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Chairman of Indonesian Entrepreneurs Association (APINDO) Hariyadi B. Sukamdani said that strengthening connectivity between regions from the western to eastern parts of Indonesia became a challenge for business people in the era of disruption.

"Strengthening connectivity is necessary to stimulate the growth of economy in the region," Hariyadi B. Sukamdani said during a seminar on The Future Digital Transformation, Government & Private Partnership here on Monday.

Java, he noted, still dominates the growth of national economy. He stated that connectivity that is in line with the growth of new economic movements in the regions will increase productivity and national competitiveness. Thus, sustainable and equitable economic growth can be felt by all levels of society.

The challenge of strengthening connectivity to create equitable and sustainable economic development and the challenges of the digital era in the business world are two important points in the era of disruption, he said.

Therefore, a synergy between the private sector and the government is needed to answer a number of challenges.

The synergy is expected to be a benchmark which can maintain national economic growth while creating jobs.

Meanwhile, Chairperson of APINDO for Transportation Affairs Carmelita Hartoto expected that the participants of the seminar could give inputs or proposals in relation to strengthening national connectivity and addressing the challenges of trade competition in the era of digital transformation.

The strengthening of national connectivity from Sabang to Marauke becomes one of Indonesia`s major challenges, she said.

"Indonesia is an archipelagic country. Strengthening Indonesia`s connectivity requires an integrated network of all modes of transportation, both from land, sea, air and rail," she said.

The transportation system also needs to be connected and integrated with industrial estates, as a node of economic movement. In the era of digital transformation, business people are required to follow market patterns that need transportation services which are efficient, fast, safe and comfortable. (ant)


Pure CPO can be used for Power Plants

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Diesel power plants (PLTDs) of the national power utility company PLN could use pure crude palm oil (CPO) without mixture for fuel, the Executive Director of the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) Fabby Tumiwa has said. Technically, CPO does not necessarily be mixed with diesel oil, but it needs special treatment before being used that it will have the characteristics of automotive diesel oil (AD), Fabby said.

"CPO needs preheating up to a certain temperature. Therefore, basically, it is possible to use pure CPO to fuel PLTDs," he said in Jakarta on Monday.

The government has ruled the use of CPO but at a 20 percent ratio in a mixture with ADO known as B20 for transport and industrial fuel. The policy is to save oil fuel and increase demand for CPO, which has been low in market demand. The problem is the CPO price being very unstable.
It would be most likely when the CPO price is high, the producers would refuse to supply CPO at a price below the export price, he said.

"PLN needs a stable price and continuity of supply," he added.

A lawmaker from the Commission VII Ramson Siagian expressed support for the idea of using pure CPO to fuel power plants of PLN, saying "it would significantly save foreign exchange for the import of ADO. At the same time, CPO would have wider market in the country that the result could be an increase in CPO price on higher demand, Ramson said. However, he said, it would need to make sure that the use of CPO would not reduce the life time of the PLTD machines.

Researcher from the Center for Study and Application of Technology (BPPT) Agus Kismanto said not all PLTDs such as low revolution (rpm 750) PLTDs of PLN could use CPO for fuel.

Agus said, currently, PLTDs use residue/marine fuel oil, adding that in order to be compatible with CPO, PLN needs to consult first with the factory producing the PLTD machines. He said currently there is PLTD machines with the brand of MAN from Germany and Wartsila from Finland , which have special machine of PLTD using CPO for fuel. He suggested that all PLTDs using ADO should be shut to be replaced with ones using CPO for fuel.

"Indonesia needs only to buy the license and we could produce PLTD machines in the country . This is very feasible business as we have thousands of PLT units," he said.

Agus Kismanto suggested that the fund managed by the BPDP-KS (the Body managing the oil palm plantation fund) be used to finance the PLN program for the PLTD fuel conversion, to ensure certainty for the state electricity company in CPO supply at a stable price.

Fabby Tumiwa has another suggestion to create a win win solution between PLN and CPO producers that is to adopt cost plus margin or cost plus adjustment scheme in case of change in CPO price in the world market.

Earlier, Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan said he had told PLN as the authority in electricity in Indonesia, to replace ADO with CPO.

"We have instructed PLN to change the fuel of PLTDs with a total capacity of at least 1,800 megawatts with pure CPO," Jonan said when opening an Indonesia- Finland business forum here recently.

Minister of State Enterprises (BUMN) Rini Soemarno also encourages PLN to stop using ADO to fuel its power plants.

Currently there have been technology to use pure CPO to fuel PLTDs, therefore, PLN should use only CPO, she said here last week.

The use of CPO which is available in abundance in the country would reduce dependence of PLN on imports for oil fuel (BBM), Rini said, adding the conversion could save as much as US$1 billion in imports of ADO. (ant)


Indonesia could use China`s digital commerce platforms to boost its exports not only to China but also to other countries, Indonesian ambassador to China Djauhari Oratmangun said in Beijing, on Monday ( 10/12 /2018 ) 

"If we want to boost exports, investment and tourism we have to have good relations with China as our main partner. China has an advanced IT and e-commerce," Djauhari said when receiving delegation of China-Indonesia discussion on China-ASEAN relations.

During the Singles Day sales event, he said, Alibaba gained a total US$30.79 billion in 24 hours while JD.com obtained US$18 billion.

"These two largest platforms in China could get more than US$48 billion in just 24 hours, an amount bigger than our export value to China in a year," he remarked.

The ambassador said Indonesia should use these digital commerce platforms which have already launched the Indonesian Pavilion to boost its export.

Currently five Indonesian products that have entered the digital platform are shrimp crackers, biscuits, coffee, instant noodle and swallow nest.

Other potential digital-based enteprises are Jumore which has existed in 157 countries and Tencent which has operated social communication WeChat to develop cashless payment method for tourists.

"However for this issue we need to have the regulation, especially for tourists to assure the state revenue from this transaction," he said.

China has contributed the largest number of tourists to the country at 2.5 million and it is expected to reach 3 million in 2018. (ant)

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