Businesspeople in Batam, Riau Islands, have called on the government to make Batu Ampar Port an international port to comply with the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code following an on-going expansion project in the port.
The government is currently expanding the port so that it will be able to serve 600,000 20-foot equivalent unit (TEU) containers per year from the current 200,000 TEU containers.
Acting chairwoman of the Riau Islands chapter of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) Nada Faza Soraya said recently that the government should provide integrated security and port fences as required in the ISPS Code.
“We support the expansion project, but we also expect the government to pay attention to the ISPS Code issue,” she said.
If the port did not comply with the ISPS Code, the cost for doing business here would be high, she added.
Nada said that people would spend a large amount of money on security if the port was considered unsafe. Under such conditions, the port would not be able to compete with ports in other ASEAN countries and the rest of the world, she added.
“Whereas, Batu Ampar Port has a very strategic position facing the Singapore Port and Tanjung Pelepas Port in Johor Baru, Malaysia,” she said, adding that Kadin was upbeat that Batu Ampar Port could attract many investors.
Unfortunately, the port has yet to comply with Law No. 17/2008 on cruises. It was not in compliance with the ISPS Code and it was controlled by many institutions, while according to the law, it was to be controlled by the harbor master only, she added.
However, Swedish government and Batam Free Trade Zone Management Agency (BP FTZ) spokesman Dwi Djoko Wiwoho said that the port was safe although it was not in compliance with the ISPS Code referred to by Kadin.
The government is now carrying out an expansion of the port with a total budget of Rp360 billion (US$29.6 million), which was allocated from the state budget.
The government allocated Rp63 billion from the 2012 state budget, Rp200 billion from last year’s state budget and will allocate Rp97 billion from this year’s state budget.
The project will elongate the port’s dock to 1,100 meters from the current 400 meters and deepen the cruise line from the current 14 meters to 17 meters.
Once the project has been completed, the country can directly open cruise lines to destination countries without passing the Singapore Port.
The planning and development director of the BP FTZ, Istono, said previously that the project started last August and would be completed in two years.
“The port will function as the main container port in Batam,” he said.
According to him, state construction company PT Wijaya Karya (Wika), which was appointed as the main project contractor, will carry out several civil construction projects. (Fadli, The Jakarta Post)
She said that only Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta and Tanjung Perak Port in Surabaya, East Java, were in compliance with the ISPS Code at the moment.