Jakarta (ANTARA) - Marine transportation observer Lenny Mayouri has put forth a suggestion that economic-related ministries should forge synergy for optimal implementation of the sea toll program.

"Optimization of the sea toll program cannot be achieved singlehandedly by the Ministry of Transportation, so it must also collaborate with other ministries, such as the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Ministry of Industry, Ministry of Trade, or Ministry of Agriculture," she told Antara in Jakarta on Thursday.

Mayouri views that the sea toll program is presently far from optimal owing to the presence of only pioneer shipping routes for several routes. However, it is not sustainable owing to the transportation of products being sporadic.

"Thus, the sea toll shipping operator is not likely to continue to serve the route continuously if there is no one using it. They cannot bear the operational costs when there are no goods being transported," he affirmed.

Synergy among ministries is crucial to optimizing sea tolls, so that production from certain regions are able to cater to the demand and supply. Thus, such goods can be transported or carried by sea toll vessels.

"The idea of the sea toll itself or the opening of maritime transportation from Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, and Sulawesi, to Papua and continual ferry and ship transportation services appears quite good," Mayouri noted.

Member of the Indonesian House of Representatives' Commission V Bambang Haryo Soekartono called for the need for serious and effective implementation of the Sea Toll program to help overcome price disparities, so as to lower the prices of essential items needed by residents.

Soekartono remarked that on the basis of his observation, traders have oftentimes been benefited from the shipping of goods through sea transportation, resulting in price disparities in the community.

The Gerindra Party politician emphasized that the Sea Toll Road program has not been successful in fulfilling its goals due to the operator, but the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs that had failed to specify the basic commodities required by people in the area covered in the Sea Toll Road program.

Chairman of the House of Representatives' Commission V Fary Djemy Francis stated at the Commission V Meeting with the Ministry of Transportation in Jakarta, Tuesday (June 18) that the commission he led will undertake a specific work visit to ascertain whether the Sea Toll program was running effectively.

Francis emphasized that in order to determine the agreement on the allocation of the amount of subsidies in several Sea Toll programs, his party will conduct an in-depth study, among others, through the working visit.

The same view was also echoed by Chairman of the Indonesian House of Representatives Bambang Soesatyo, who drew attention to one of the leading programs of President Joko Widodo's administration, specifically the sea highway, which was viewed as not matching up to expectations.

He cited data of the Ministry of Transportation that the realization of sea toll cargoes in 2017 had reached 212,865 tons, or 41.2 percent of the targeted 517,200 tons, while the realization of return cargoes was merely 20,274 tons, or 3.9 percent.

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Translator: Eliswan Azly
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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