"Currently, the floods and bad weather are affecting the supply of food, building materials, groceries and other essential goods in the Pangkalbalam port," stated the chief of Sailing Safety, Guard and Patrol Subsection of the Harbormastering and Authority Office of Pangkalbalam port, Hasoloan Siregar, in Pangkalpinang on Saturday.
Hasoloan pointed out that almost 90 percent of the goods supplied to the Bangka and Belitung islands come from the Java island. So, weather-related disruptions and other disasters in Java play a key role in determining the supply of goods to both islands.
"Currently, the number of cargo ships at the port have reduced because of the bad weather, which includes turbulent waters and strong winds," he added.
According to Hasoloan, the supply from Sumatra Island should be increased to fill the current gap in supply, which could reduce any potential rise in the prices of goods that could burden people.
"If the conditions in Jakarta do not improve, I predict there will be a shortage of basic goods next week, which will drive up prices," he noted.
The Bangka Belitung province is an archipelago that relies on steady supplies from other regions, mainly because it produces a limited number of agricultural and plantation products.
"We are trying to reduce the possibility of an increase in prices by optimizing the loading and unloading activities at the port, which should improve the distribution of goods to the people," he stated.
But, these activities face some constraints because several warehouses are closed for the Lunar Chinese New Year holidays.
"We encourage the owners of the warehouses to restart operations immediately to enable the loading and unloading activities for the distribution of goods to the people, which could take up to 24 hours," he added.
(Reporting by Aprionis/Uu.D018/INE/KR-BSR/F001)