SINGAPORE: Indonesia said on Friday (May 15) that the country would like to have maritime cooperation with Singapore to help improve its own ports.

Dwelling time – the time taken for freight to load and unload at the port – has averaged seven to nine days in Indonesia, and the country is hoping to reduce this.

Speaking at a forum organised by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Dr Indroyono Soesilo said Indonesia is focusing on developing its maritime infrastructure which includes harbours, shipyards and labour.

“The best place to learn more is from Singapore, and Singapore is able to speed up the process of bringing in, and bringing out containers in less than one day,” said Dr Indroyono. “I think this is quite impressive. We are aiming four to five days dwelling time, that is enough. Having better dwelling time, it means improving our logistic system, and reducing the cost.”

Singapore has one of the busiest ports in the world, with a ship leaving or arriving every two to three minutes.

Indonesia is upgrading its ports as part of its vision to transform itself into a maritime power. This is also to realise the full potential of its maritime trade and commerce, and to connect many of its islands.

Indonesia is a vast archipelago with more than 17,000 islands, and sea ports are needed to improve sea links in the country. President Joko Widodo has set a target to build 24 seaports in the next five years. Indonesia will require about US$6 billion to develop these ports.

Such infrastructure developments present many opportunities for foreign investors, but companies are still asking for more certainty when doing business in Indonesia.

Mr Daniel Ong, country director of HSL Constructor, said: “Going forward we really hope there can be more clarity so that we can expedite things on the ground, because certain projects – they kickstart, but after that there are concerns by different parties, and after that, it might be published in the news that certain projects might be suspended.”

Apart from what Indonesia aims to spend on developing its ports, the government also plans to spend a total of US$400 billion, over five years, on building up overall infrastructure to stimulate economic growth.

This article first appeared on Channel News Asia