North Sumatra port debuts in global container business

North-Sumatra-port-debuts-in-global-container-business Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan (center) is taken on a tour of Kuala Tanjung Port by Pelindo I operational and commercial director Syahputera Sembiring (third left) during a visit to Batubara regency, North Sumatra. (The Jakarta Post/Apriadi Gunawan)

​Source: The Jakarta Post
Date: 30 March 2020

Kuala Tanjung Port in North Sumatra made its debut in the global container market, with its first shipment on Saturday, as Indonesia bids to tap into the lucrative Strait of Malacca shipping trade dominated by Singapore and Malaysia.

The container shipped to Port Klang in Malaysia on Saturday was the first of weekly shipments, according to PT Prima Multi Terminal, which manages the Kuala Tanjung Multipurpose Terminal (KTMT).

The regular shipment will send containers from companies operating near Kuala Tanjung, including organic chemical producer PT Unilever Oleochemical Indonesia -a subsidiary of consumer goods giant PT Unilever Indonesia- and consumer goods company PT Multimas Nabati Asahan -part of agribusiness giant Wilmar Group.

"This is a milestone for Kuala Tanjung Multipurpose Terminal, after our success in domestic loading and unloading," Prima Multi Terminal director Robert MP Sinaga told The Jakarta Post at the launch.

"We are branching out into commercial international shipping," Robert said.

Kuala Tanjung replaced Belawan as the main trading port in North Sumatra, capitalizing on the ever growing manufacturing sector in Sumatra. Under the current expansion plans, it will become the largest port in the country.

The COVID-19 pandemic did not stop Kuala Tanjung from moving ahead with the start of container shipment. 

Robert said the company had taken precautionary measures by providing personal protective gear for crew. It collaborates with the Thousands Islands Port Authority, customs and excise office and port health office in monitoring the health of the crew and cleaning the ships.

PT Forecastle Indonesia, the shipping company for container operations, partners with Singapore's Legend Logistics Asia. 

Kuala Tanjung is very suitable as an international container export hub since it is located around the Strait of Malacca, which connects the Malay peninsula and Sumatra, Forecastle Indonesia president director Dhiny Afriyanti said.

"We are planning a weekly trip to Kuala Tanjung Port," Dhiny said.

When Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi inspected the facility and progress of the development on March 3 he vowed, "We want to turn this into an international hub."

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