Brunei-Indonesia shipping link to reduce prices

Azlan Othman

Goods from Indonesia to Brunei Darussalam are expected to become cheaper once a direct shipping link is established between the two countries next month.

“This will increase Indonesia’s market share,” said Indonesian Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam Dr Sujatmiko in an interview with the Bulletin yesterday.

“Based on market share statistics, only three per cent of goods come from Indonesia to Brunei Darussalam, whereas Malaysia recorded 13 per cent and Singapore 12 per cent. The biggest chunk comes from countries such as China, Japan and so on.”

Bilateral trade between the two countries is expected to get a further boost once Indonesia shifts its capital from Jakarta to East Borneo in future. All economic activities will be developed in the new capital city, which easily connects to Brunei Darussalam.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced plans to relocate the country’s capital from Jakarta to Borneo last August. It is expected to happen within five years, with the infrastructure development possibly commencing this year.

The new capital will be located between the East Kalimantan provincial capital of Samarinda and Balikpapan, its largest city, located some 90 kilometres to the south. Both are situated near the east coast of the world’s third-largest island.

Indonesian Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam Dr Sujatmiko. PHOTO: AZLAN OTHMAN

“We have discussed with the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications (MTIC) and a shipping company to set a direct linkage between Jakarta and Brunei Darussalam via Pelni, which is the national shipping company of Indonesia, with a services network spanning across the Indonesian archipelago,” said Dr Sujatmiko.

“The idea is to introduce twice-a-month shipping services that will carry 103 containers measuring 20 feet per trip.

“This vessel will go to Natuna Islands (the outermost northern border islands in the Riau Archipelago, on the west side of the South China Sea) to offload 30 per cent of the cargo while the remaining 70 per cent will go to Brunei Darussalam.”

The sea journey will take around nine days. The consumer goods to be exported from Jakarta to Bandar Seri Begawan will include car products and instant noodles.

“Around 30 containers of instant noodles, such as IndoMie and MeeSedap, are transported to Brunei from Indonesia,” said Dr Sujatmiko.

“The same goes for car models like the Mitsubishi Expander which is transported to Brunei from Indonesia, and has already recorded sales of 60 units in the Sultanate.”

Exports from Bandar Seri Begawan to Jakarta include fish products from Golden Corporation Sdn Bhd, Halal goods, alloy steel, aluminium materials, fly ash for cement concrete and scrap metals.

Currently goods from Indonesia to Brunei are transported to Singapore or Malaysia, which increases their price when entering the Brunei market. Moreover, these goods are no longer Indonesian-owned, but are products from other countries.