Indonesia’s state-controlled port operator PT Pelabuhan Indonesia I (Pelindo I) has scored a deal with six global shipping and cargo companies, including Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Company, for them to use the Belawan International Container Terminal (BICT) in North Sumatra, reports The Jakarta Post.
The service-level agreement (SLA) will enable Pelindo I to increase its market share of the growing container market along the Strait of Malacca, expected to reach around 51 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) this year, said company authorities.
Under the contract, each box ship liner will bring its containers to Sumatra’s largest terminal, while Pelindo I will provide the slot, increasing container traffic passing through BICT.
The other international shipping lines that signed the SLA with Pelindo I were Orient Overseas Container Line, Hub Line, Evergreen Line, and “K” Line. The port operator said it is trying to close similar contracts with more companies before the year ends.
Pelindo I made the same pact with some of country’s largest domestic shipping firms, such as Samudera Indonesia, Bintika Bangunusa, Multi Mitra Baruna, and Caraka Tirta Perkasa.
To take effect next year, the contracts run for one year, subject to possible extension upon review.
With BICT expected to see brisker business, it is set to undergo a US$261-million expansion starting the end of this year. This involves expanding the yard from 950 meters to 1,650 meters, adding a 30-hectare container yard, and investing in 24 units of transtainers and eight container cranes, according to Jakarta Post.
Upon project completion by late 2016, the terminal’s total capacity will rise to 2 million TEUs from the present 1.2 million TEUs.
Pelindo I also plans to start building the Kuala Tanjung Port in North Sumatra to help BICT tap the growing trade in the Strait of Malacca. The port is to be developed in several phases, with a total capacity of 20 million TEUs by 2030.
Photo: Batubara Ismail Rahmat