Indonesia: A Master Plan to accelerate infrastructures


Government transport plans include the improvement of the railway network with the construction of new lines, high-speed rail projects, direct access, double routes in java, sumatra and kalimantan and signalling improvements.

Indonesia is an archipelago formed by about 17,508 islands, more than 11,500 of these being populated, and has 255 million inhabitants. The geographical characteristics make the transport and logistics sector a key element for the country’s economic development. It is the fourth most populated country in the world. The growing needs for internal connections and their plans to open the country to world trade have led to the design of an ambitious long-term infrastructure plan that will be carried out until 2025. One of its aims is to respond to the increase in rail transport, both passenger and freight, which has experienced an upward shift of between six and seven percent in recent years.

 Sectorial Structure

The railway infrastructure of Indonesia occupies good standing in comparison with other means of transport, as highlighted in the Global Competitiveness Report 2014-2015 of the World Economic Forum. In this study, Indonesia ranks 41 (out of 144 countries evaluated) for the quality of this type of service. However, a large part of the country’s operational channels, according to the World Bank indicator, are in poor condition or must be modernised to adapt to growing demand. In addition, there are large areas outside of Java that still lack rail connections. Currently, renovations of both roads, bridges and obsolete communications and signalling systems are necessary.

It is worthwhile noting that Indonesia has a rail density of 0.25 km / km2, a low figure compared to other surrounding countries such as Thailand which has more than triple that. Hence, the medium and long-term plans are to increase investments in this area to offer a transport system according to a country that is the largest economy in Southeast Asia.

At present, the network has an extension of 8,159 kilometres with a gauge width measuring 1.067 meters, of which 565 are electrified, although only 4,816 kilometres are operational. The lines provide rail services to two islands in Indonesia: Java and Sumatra. In the first, most of its cities are connected by rail. It transports 196 million passengers per year and mobilises 3.9 million tons of goods per year. This network also includes the commuter train in Jabodetabek, which is operated by the subsidiary KCJ. However, in Sumatra there is no network that connects the three regions. The southern lines are generally used for the transport of coal. In this archipelago, the train has 5.25 million passengers and mobilises 15.25 million tons of freight per year.

The management and ownership of the network corresponds to the public-sector company Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI). The sole company in charge of urban rail system is KRL Jabodetabek. Along with the public-sector networks, there are private routes on the island of Kalimantan for the transport of goods from the mines to the piers of private ports.


Promotion of infrastructures

The government wishes to eliminate trade barriers and open the country up to world trade routes. For this reason, it has launched a renovations package to reduce logistics costs by improving connections between the individual islands. The Government’s infrastructure plans include the improvement of the railway network with the construction of new lines, shortcuts, double tracks in Java, Sumatra and Kalimantan and signalling improvements.

All the aims that must be achieved are outlined in an ambitious 20-year long-term investment programme called “National Long-Term Development Plan (RPJPN 2005-2025)”. The plan is divided, in turn, into four-year terms. Presently, the “National Medium-Term Development Plan-PJMN 2015-2019” is underway. Together with these, the

“Master Plan for the Acceleration and Expansion of Economic Development of Indonesia (MP3EI) 2011-2025” has been duly approved.

As for the rail sector, the one finalised for the national railways is to strengthen land connections and support the seven key maritime centres. This plan will require approximately 300,053 billion euros in investments between 2015 and 2019. Such is its magnitude that it has been classified as the largest railway project in the country since its independence. These funds will be allocated to more than 3,258 kilometres of roads, for passenger and freight rail which will cross the islands of Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Papua. With these connections, the offer more transport links without interruptions between cities, towns, tourist and industrial areas is sought. In the latter case, the aim is to improve access to seven key ports: Kuala Tanjung (North Sumatra), Batam (Riau Islands), Tanjung Priok (Jakarta), Tanjung Perak (Surabaya), Makassar and Bitung (Sulawesi) and Sorong (Western Papua). Many of the projects described in MP3EI will be open to private sector participation in the form of public-private partnerships (PPP). Likewise, worthy of special mention arelinking plans for the main airport of Jakarta (Soekarno Hatta) with the city and with the one of Halim, the high-speed Jakarta-Bandung, as well as a circular line in Bali to offer improved access to all the regions and the undertaking of new tourist developments. There are also local projects in Jakarta such as the MRT project or potential plans for an LTR, as well as possible urban railways in Surabaya or Bandung.

Railway in Bali

Bali will have a circular line to offer better access to the undeveloped parts of the tourist island where new tourism undertakings are planned. This route will go around the island and reach areas where there is still no access by public transport. The railway will connect Denpasar with Ubud in the Gianyar region and Singaraja in the Buleleng region. Construction will begin in 2018, as the feasibility project has already been carried out by the University of Udayana in cooperation with the World Bank.

High speed Jakarta-Bandung and Surabaya

One of the major projects underway is the high-speed line between Jakarta and Bandung. The 142.4-kilometre network will be built in eastern Java and will be financed at a rate of 75% by the Development Bank of China. The consortium that will take over the project is Kereta Cepat Indonesia China (KCIC), composed of Pilar Sinergi BUMN and China Railway International Co Ltd. Initially, a budget of 4.750 billion euros had been allocated, although the cost could increase to 5.584 billion euros. This initiative will be financed by China Development Bank. Regarding the deadlines, it is estimated that the works will end in 2019 and the trains will enter into commercial operations in 2020. This section is part of a major route of 750 kilometres of high speed rail that will cross four provinces of Java and reach the second largest city on the island, Surabaya. In this sense, the modernisation plans for rail links include track duplication through the updating of existing lines, mostly single-track. It is estimated that works in the northern area may end in 2020.

Regional Tran-Sumatera

The regional railway project “Trans-Sumatera” aims to connect the provinces of the westernmost continental zone of Indonesia. The works consist of the duplication of the 370-kilometre road between Palembang and Bandar Lampung, as well as a 26-kilometre line between Medan and the Kuala Namu International Airport. The main cities from north to south will have a modern network for which an investment of 2.700 billion euros is estimated. This railroad will link the three provinces of North Sumatera, Riau, and Aceh. At the moment, work is currently underway on the 80 km section “Binjai-Besitang” (Langkat), on the “Besitang-Sei Liput” section to connect with Aceh and in a 48 km Rantau Prapat area near the city of Pinang.

Trans-Sulawesi Railway

This project started with the construction of the Makassar-Parepare line of 145 kilometres, within the first stage. In total, this railway will offer 1,700 kilometres and will run southbound to South Sulawesi to Manado, in the north. The network consists of the following routes: Makassar-Parepare; Parepare-Mamuju; Makassar-Bulukumba-Watampone; Manado-Bitung and Bitung-Gorontalo. It is expected to come into operation in 2018, upon reception of the rolling stock.

KA Trans Papua (West Papua)

The Indonesian government wishes to build a 595-kilometre railway. This project is known as “KA Trans Papua”. Its development will run from Sorong to Manokwari passing through Nabire and ending in Jayapura. The work will be performed over several stages. The first one will be completed in 2019 and will focus on the construction of the 390km section between Sorong and Manokwari. Secondly, between 2020 and 2024, the section running from Manokwari to Nabir will be finished. The third stage, from 2025 to 2030, will connect Sarmi-Nabire-Timika until it reaches Jayapura. The construction is planned to begin in 2018 and will be financed with state budget funds. The project has an estimated cost of 601 million euros. Although funding is expected to be fully provided through the state budget, the government is open to potential investors.

Connection with airports

One of the priorities in the field of transport in Indonesia is to provide the thirteen national airports with a rail connection. This initiative includes those of Padang, Batam and Palembang in Sumatra; Makassar in Sulawesi; Banjarmasin in Kalimantan; Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Surabaya and Kertajati Majalengka in Java.

One of the main connections is the one links the international airport Soekarno-Hatta from Jakarta. The project under the auspice of the operator Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI) and its subsidiary Railink. The line starts at the east station of Manggarai, passes through Sudirman, in the centre, and Batuceper on a route of 37.6 kilometres.