Indonesia confirms Jakarta-Surabaya high-speed railway, wants to involve China | So Good News


JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network): The government is considering a plan to extend the ongoing Jakarta-Bandung high-speed mega project to Surabaya, East Java, despite several delays on the existing development, in a bid to make the project more economically viable.

Currently, the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed rail project passes through the military-run airport Halim Perdanakusuma, Karawang, Padalarang before ending in Tegalluar – about 19 km to Bandung, West Java. Extending the project to the far east of Java will also connect Yogyakarta and Surakarta, Central Java, before stopping in Surabaya.

The government claimed it would also cut the trip from Jakarta to Surabaya, East Java, to just four hours from the current more than 10 hours.

Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Coordinating Minister of Investment and Maritime Affairs, said on Friday (Oct 28) that the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway remains a good project despite years of delays since the original completion target of 2019, while it may benefit to expand it to Surabaya. the country more.

“If the government continues this to Surabaya, I think it will make it [transportation cost in] Indonesia more efficiently, Luhut told reporters after an event with the China Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia.

Asked whether the government would choose between China or Japan to carry out the expansion, Luhut said he preferred the former.

“We’ll see. If we’re already comfortable with [China], why find a replacement? I don’t think you like changing spouses either,” Luhut said.

The Jakarta-Bandung high-speed rail project is currently plagued with ballooning costs, after years of delays, partly due to the Covid-19 pandemic and overly optimistic plans, the latter of which was admitted by the Ministry of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) last year.

The project is estimated to cost almost another US$2 billion (Rp 31.14 trillion), bringing the total cost to US$8 billion. Both sides are still debating how to tackle the problem, but the scale of the problem has dragged the Indonesian government along for the ride, breaking the promise from the start that it would be business to business (b2b).

Lu Kang, Chinese ambassador to Indonesia told reporters on Friday that China has not yet decided, but he said negotiations on the plan could start immediately once the existing project is finished.

“We actually haven’t gotten to that aspect yet. After we finish this part [Jakarta-Bandung], there will be good reason for our further discussion. But that is up to the Indonesian government, Kang said.

Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said on Thursday that the government reflected on the success of mass transit (MRT) built by Japan, which he believed was the reason why it was possible to extend the high-speed railway to Surabaya.

For now, Budi said he was open to the idea of ​​any country willing to participate in the expansion. This includes experts who can help realize the project. “We will pay them [the experts]”, Budi said, as quoted by Tempo.


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