Global Business Guide Indonesia

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Technology Transfer | Investment
Trust Corporation | Mr Mateus D. Lesmana
Mr Mateus D. Lesmana

For the oil and gas industry our emphasis is on our integrated services as opposed to OSVs. In this way we hope to set ourselves apart as a company offering value added on top of making vessels available to transport cargo.

Mr Mateus D. Lesmana, Chief Executive Officer

Trust Corporation is a one-stop shop for marine logistics solutions that covers a wide range of services through its subsidiaries. Please present your company to the GBG Indonesia audience as well as elaborate upon your main strategies going forward.

Trust Corporation at the moment has four companies under the group. We started off in the barging industry and this was our focus as of 2010. The shift in the Indonesian market away from diesel fuel firing electricity generators to coal firing created opportunities for us to offer our services in transporting coal across the country. In this country, the most efficient mode of transporting coal is by barge because the mining areas are mainly on islands such as Sumatra and Borneo, while industries are mainly located in Java. Seeing this opportunity, we entered the marine logistics industry and initially focused on barges before diversifying. The 2008 introduction of cabotage in Indonesian waters that requires the use of local ships and crews also provided us with another reason to enter.

Our fleet of medium to large size barges suited for coal transport is managed by our subsidiary Trust Line Marine. As we evolved as a group, we began meeting the paper and pulp industry’s marine logistics needs. We then identified another opportunity in the oil and gas industry: Indonesia’s onshore reserves have depleted and national production has fallen from a peak of approximately 1.6 million barrels per day to 800,000 barrels per day. What is left to be explored is offshore. This creates demand for offshore facilities such as floating platforms and a wide array of marine support services. Going beyond offshore support vessels, we tap into this by offering integrated services including passenger transport, drilling equipment and activities to optimise production.

Big companies in this industry operating in the region often choose to headquarter in Singapore; we seek to provide distinct value added as a 100% local player based in Jakarta with internationally certified competencies. Going forward, we are looking to marine infrastructure through our newest company, and are particularly interested in shore-based support.

What is your outlook for Indonesia’s commercial freight and marine logistics industry and how do you see it growing in the future?

The general outlook is positive. Recent years have seen a substantial increase in the number of vessels in Indonesia, and some may suggest that there are already too many barges in the market. However, it is necessary to go deeper to recognise that many of these barges are not suited for the coal industry and were instead designed to carry timber.

From a broader perspective, in 2012 we saw a downturn in market demand for coal and to anticipate this we diversified to other goods such as pulp and paper that are not as subject to global fluctuations in commodity demand. In Indonesia, there are only 3 big companies in pulp and paper and we thus see this as a more stable industry to tap into. At the moment, 80% of our fleet is dedicated to this area of operation and the remaining 20% continues to transport coal and iron ore commodities.

From a diversification point of view, where else do you see opportunities?

Our general guidelines when it comes to diversifying are that we want to go from commodities to non-commodity items. For the oil and gas industry our emphasis is on our integrated services as opposed to OSVs. In this way we hope to set ourselves apart as a company offering value added on top of making vessels available to transport cargo.

Our strategy in identifying new business opportunities emphasises our expertise in market intelligence that gives us an edge on competition.

How does Trust Corporation plan to innovate to adapt its services to industry demand?

There are huge opportunities in oil and gas, especially as the government is under pressure to increase production and lower the country’s dependence on imports. Technical capabilities to access offshore reserves are thus increasingly needed, and this extends to marine services. To continue to meet demand for marine services, our company is focused on building the capabilities and skills of our human resources. This will allow us to provide more services catered to our customer base. When we have enough skilled human resources and good management, then the rest such as hardware and assets will follow.

How is your company positioned towards cooperation with international investors and foreign partners?

Our company is aware that it cannot do everything on its own; we need partners. It is impossible to master everything within a short time frame when offering a diverse range of services, and it is important to form synergies with other companies. We are open to synergies with technology owners such as Halliburton as well as with foreign partners willing to share the reward and risk in overcoming challenges here, given that the market is here and there are many opportunities to be explored.

This industry is capital intensive and we need to be able to take advantage of global resources that offer a much more competitive cost of capital. We are therefore open to working with foreign entities within a framework such as an equity partnership. At the same time we are also interested in technology transfers. Technology transfer means developing people; to work together and form a relationship that surpasses simply handing over new tech. Partnerships that facilitate a greater understanding of new technology via training for local employees by an expert are an example of successful collaboration.

As a founder of a young company, what dream and vision would you like to share with our readers?

We would like to gain trust as a local company that is able to provide international standard marine services. We took advantage of the implementation of cabotage, but it is our goal to be prepared to continue to grow and succeed even under open market conditions when cabotage is no longer in place. We therefore hope to optimise during this timeframe under what we perceive to be a temporary protectionist policy so that we are ready to compete with international companies.

As a last question, what would you like our readers at GBG Indonesia to remember about Trust Corporation?

Trust Corporation is an open company, and we welcome any potential long-term synergies. We know that we cannot delve into all of the Indonesian market’s tremendous opportunities alone, and need to partner and form win-win agreements. We recently officially began working with a private equity firm to drive further growth, and hope to pursue other avenues to work with international entities in addition to this.

Global Business Guide Indonesia - 2015

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