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On The Train Dialogue; Exploring the Economic Potential of Jakarta-Surabaya Double Track Railroad
August 28, 2014

SEMARANG, CENTRAL JAVA (27/8) – The acceleration of National economy is very much correlated with these 4 important agendas; infrastructure availability, advance transportation system, information socialization, and good intention and mindset from the nation’s economy movers. The physical development of the double track railroad from Jakarta to Surabaya that has been completed was expected to be utilized effectively, in order to extent the acceleration of economy from the region up to the national scale.

In response to such issue, a themed discussion called ‘Exploring the Potential of Jakarta-Surabaya Double Track Railroad of the north coast Java Island’ was uniquely held on a moving train from Jakarta’s Gambir Station and bound for Semarang’s Tawang Station, by the Ministry of Transportation collaborated with Rajawali Foundation and Transformation Center for Public Policy (Transformasi), and attended by regional District Heads and Mayors, on Wednesday 27 August, 2014.

It was early morning in Gambir Station, Jakarta, when a group of people wearing decent Batik and Safari clothes were waiting in front of the VIP waiting room. There were also a group of Press and reporters stood by with their equipment. Moments later, the VIPs came one by one entering the room, guided by the protocol. When the clock stroke 9.15 a.m., this entire group headed to the exclusive KA Nusantara rail cars specially prepared for an event called On the Train Dialogue: Optimizing the Double-Track Railroad.

The participants of this discussion were: Vice Minister of Transportation Republic of Indonesia Bambang Susantono PhD., Head of The Center for Economic Studies and Public Policy Gadjah Mada University, Tony Prasetiantono, PhD;  Head of Banyuwangi District: Abdullah Azwar Anas, M.Si., Head of Bojonegoro District:  Drs. H. Suyoto, M.Si., Head of Gresik District: Dr. Ir. H. Sambari Halim Radianto, ST., M.Si., Head of Tegal District: Enthus Susmono, Mayor of Cirebon Drs. H. Ano Sutrisno, MM., Deputy Mayor of Tegal City:  Nursoleh SPd., MMPD., Regional Secretary of Pekalongan City Drs. Dwi Arie Putranto, MSi., and Administration Assistant of Semarang City Government Ir. Eko Tjahjono. At 9.30, the train was leaving for Tawang Station, Semarang, and the dialogue started.

A speech from Executive Director of Transformation Center for Public Policy Nugroho Wienarto as the Chief Executive of On The Train Dialogue marked to begin the rundown of the event. In the speech, Nugroho told that he expects the discussion will generate synergy and creativity between regional governments to be able to persuade land traffic users to start using other available alternatives transportation option, like the new infrastructure of Double Track Railroad on the North Coast of Java Island. “The Success of this Double Track Railroad utilization will be very much relied to the synergy of Policy between the central government and the regional government, and also it requires creativity in implicating the policy,” said Nugroho on his brief speech.

Program Director Rajawali Foundation Agung Binantoro, as the sponsor of this event, deliver the main objective of On The Train Dialogue Event, which was to grow ideas on how to develop economic potential in terms of facilities, infrastructure, regional landscape planning, and information systems by Regional Governments through maximizing the utilization of the Double Track Railroad. “We hope this discussion would facilitate the communication between the policy stakeholders to maximize the utilization of the Double Track Railroad Jakarta to Surabaya, with different vibe, so that we could have an interesting outcome from this discussion, “said Agung Binantoro.

Vice Minister of Transportation Republic of Indonesia Bambang Susantono PhD., was presenting some facts and information about the Double Track Railroad Jakarta to Surabaya. The tracks is predicted to decrease as much as 30% of the traffic load of the Java North Coast Roadway (Jalur Pantura), which has took the important role in distributing logistic via land transportation, from Jakarta to Surabaya.

“The traffic on Java North Coast Roadway is actually contributing as much as 26.5% of Indonesia Economic. Meanwhile, the number of Export and Import on Java North Coast Roadway is estimated as much value worth as 38.5% from the total number of National export and import. With an alternative distribution access like the Double Track Railroad that could able to be utilize as effective as possible, I would predict that in the next 5 to 10 years, the economy around the Java North Coast Roadway will grow even bigger,” explain Bambang Susantono.

He explained that the Ministry of Transportation is expecting to see an increase of both logistic train and passenger train capacity from 84 trains a day to 226 trains a day, while simultaneously decreasing the travel time between Jakarta to Surabaya from 13 hours to 10 hours or less. This subject has been attracting investors to invest in the cities that passed by the Double Track Railroad. Nonetheless, the Indonesian Logistic Association suggests that in order to explore bigger impact of the Double Track Railroad towards the Logistic, it is necessary to provide the supporting loading and unloading space and system in the Station.

At the moment, there are some regional governments along the North Coast Java Island who have been developing policy and program to stimulate economic growth from the existence of the Double Track Railroad. The growing industries are including; manufacture services, tourism, and creative industries. While amongst these industries, the tourism sector seemed to benefit faster compare to other sectors after the Double Track Railroad development has been completed.

The discussion was then open to the participant; each of the Regional Leader shared their ideas, plans, achievements, and inputs in the forum. Head of Bojonegoro District said that the Double Track Railroad has unlocked the access for industry activities in his area, especially for logistic industry. Mayor of Cirebon recognized the benefit of the establishment of the Double Track Railroad on the tourism sector as there are many newly developed hotels open in Cirebon and nearby areas. The same things also happen in Pekalongan City, as the City Secretary told the forum that Pekalongan is welcoming many investors in Hotels and Properties Sector. Head of Gresik District suggest that the Double Track railroad should have been extended to the seaport because his city needs logistic access via water transportation as well. Head of Banyuwangi District requested the Central Government to extend the development of the Double Track Railroad to Bayuwangi, because he sees big tourism potential in Banyuwangi.

At the end of the discussion, the Moderator Tony Prasetiantono come up with several highlights of the discussion; he suggested that the central government will not just focus on infrastructure development, but it is necessary to include how to maximize the utilization of such infrastructure into the priority agenda. 

“The development of infrastructure should be done with effective and creative planning by providing direct access to the center of economic activities in the region. This matter is very important to be highlighted to avoid over investment that resulting less optimize development for the people and the country,” said Tony Prasetiantono.

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