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Pelni (Persero) | Mr Sulistyo W. Hardjito
Mr Sulistyo W. Hardjito

It is important that the government provides some incentives to encourage the use of sea transport as a means of shipping cargo

Mr Sulistyo W. Hardjito, President Director

PT Pelni (Persero) was established in 1952 and is the national shipping company of Indonesia. As the recently appointed President Director, what can you tell us about your company’s main strategies going forward?

Our strategy for the future has two core areas of focus: reducing losses and raising our level of service quality to better our passenger transport operations. To achieve the first of these goals, we intend to address issues that have been a challenge to our company in the past such as free riders and cargo being transported on our ship without payment and proper documentation. Over the course of Ramadan alone we saw a 40% increase in revenue primarily due to improvements in monitoring for free riders.

Regarding the mission of increasing our quality of service, it is important for us to understand the needs of our passengers - particularly those travelling on lengthy routes that can take upwards of three days to complete. To ensure comfort we have implemented facilities such as air conditioners in good condition and well-stocked shops. We also have made it our priority to offer better food on our vessels through a new menu and expect to deliver these changes in October of this year (2014). Furthermore, we plan to revamp our on-ship entertainment amenities by replacing non-functioning equipment as well as introducing ideas such as small gyms and playgrounds.

Given the context of President-elect Joko Widodo’s priority to develop a sea toll, what is your outlook for future developments within the sea transportation industry?

Our outlook depends upon the specific field within sea transportation, as this impacts the feasibility of proposed projects such as the sea toll. For example, for the transport of perishable goods a sea toll would prove beneficial if there are ships fast enough to transport the products during the required time frame. Non-perishable goods, on the other hand can be most effectively shipped via containers.

At the same time, it is important that the government provides some incentives to encourage the use of sea transport as a means of shipping cargo, such as subsidies. In fact, there are already regulations in place that mandate the provision of subsidies for the transport of goods by sea, but further details on this have yet to be released.

It also remains to be seen as to how the new government will contend with challenges such as bureaucracy when trying to push forward with its plans to develop sea transportation in Indonesia. This includes allocating the budget to finance the projects.

Having established a strong presence in Indonesia, how does your company plan to pursue expansion on the local stage?

Though supply continues to be coming from the manufacturing heartland of Java, we are seeing high demand in and around Indonesia in its entirety, spanning from the western part of the country to the east.

Unlike those in Java, major cities in the east tend to be located on the coast and this creates opportunities for us to serve commercial centres that go on to supply the rest of the island.

We are also looking towards areas that are not fully tapped by commercial aviation, such as routes in and out of Jayapura in Papua.

One of the key aspects in Pelni’s strategy is the modernisation of equipment in addition to the implementation of concepts such as 3 in 1 vessels that can carry passengers, goods and containers. What else can you tell us about your plans to innovate and introduce new services and facilities?

Mobilisation is on the rise in Indonesia as a result of a growing middle class and an increase in purchasing power. We must therefore pay close attention to shifts in consumer preferences, such as the growing sale of motorbikes and cars to make sure that we have the necessary capacity and transportation capabilities.

Our other advancements have largely focused on addressing our quality of service for passengers. This includes the introduction of 3G capabilities on nine of our vessels to ensure that our passengers enjoy strong signal throughout their journey. Our remaining ships will soon be equipped with this technology too.

How is your company positioned towards cooperation with a foreign investor or overseas partner?

There are big opportunities for collaboration with foreign investors in seaports, and this is especially true for shipping lines. For these companies investing in ports such as Tanjung Priok can have tangible benefits in building for greater efficiency. In referring to seaport operations, we include logistics operations such as storage, warehousing and distribution as a potential avenue to explore with international entities, and we are most interested in technology transfers.

As a final message, what would you like Global Business Guide Indonesia’s readers to remember about the country?

Efficiently transporting freight in Indonesia cannot be achieved via air or trucks alone; we need sea transport and as such it is important that the country develops its shipping industry.

Individuals interested in Indonesia for tourism should know that we offer value added transport services going to destinations that other companies do not. We are presently prioritising routes to Wakatobi, Raja Ampat and Labuan Bajo in addition to other locations in Central Sulawesi and East Kalimantan. By providing access to and from these parts of Indonesia, our company makes a big difference to the development of local communities on more isolated islands and creates opportunities for people who live in hard to reach areas.

Global Business Guide Indonesia - 2014

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