“To RoRo or not to RoRo”
Hope it becomes a reality
AYER KEROH, Aug 7 – A roll-on/roll-off ships service between Tanjung Bruas Port in Melaka and Dumai Port in Sumatra, Indonesia has become the talk of the town for almost a decade.
RoRo ships are vessels designed to carry wheeled cargo, such as cars, trucks, semi-trailer trucks,
trailers, and railroad cars, that are driven on and off the ship on their own wheels or using a platform vehicle, such as a self-propelled modular transporter.
This is in contrast to lift-on/lift-off (LoLo) vessels, which use a crane to load and unload cargo.
RoRo vessels have either built-in or shore-based ramps that allow the cargo to be efficiently rolled on and off the vessel when in port.
A BRIEF BACKGROUND
Based on local media reports in early 2018, the much-awaited RoRo service was supposed to begin its maiden operation before the end of last year.
This follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Johor Port Berhad and PT Pelabuhan Indonesia I (Pelindo I) to carry out the service.
Pelindo 1, is one of the state-owned enterprises that manage ports services in western Indonesia in four provinces covering Aceh, North Sumatra, Riau and Riau Archipelago.
It was reported then that Johor Port which is a member of MMC Group, will invest RM10mil to set up facilities at the Tanjung Bruas Port to roll out the country’s first RoRo service.
The investment would be used to construct the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) facilities at the Tanjung Bruas Port and ramp for the RoRo ships.
However, as at today, the planned RoRo service has not yet started.
THE HOPES OF MELAKA STATE GOVERNMENT
Despite the delays, the Melaka state government was looking forward to the realization of the RoRo service by the end of 2020.
Chief Minister, Adly Zahari had said that the state government was hoping that the planned service can be operational in the third quarter of next year.
“The state government hopes the project will be implemented as soon as possible as it will generate a lot of beneficial economic activities for both countries,” he said when responding to a question about the latest status of the project recently.
He said in term of readiness, the Indonesian government has provided the physical infrastructure needed for the project including developing a jetty at the Dumai Port.
Adly said the proposed project has also been agreed upon by the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT).
The IMT-GT is a subregional cooperation initiative formed in 1993 by the governments of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand to accelerate economic and social transformation in less developed provinces.
PROJECT LATEST STATUS
During the Melaka state assembly sitting here last month, State Exco for Industry, Trade and Investment, Datuk Mohd Rafiq Naizamohideen had explained that the Tanjung Bruas Port will be commercially developed at a cost of RM160mil.
The development, he said, was in accordance with the concession agreement between Syarikat Tanjung Bruas Sdn Bhd and the Federal government via the Ministry of Transport.
“The construction of the Immigration, Customs, Quarantine and Security checkpoint, the Customs,
Immigration and Quarantine Complex and the interlocking pavement have been completed while the construction of the container loading and storage area is ongoing,” he told the state assembly then.
Mohd Rafiq added that the plan also included jetty upgrades and bridge repair work.
He however said that plans to extend the jetty as well as the construction of a ‘RoRo’ jetty at the port have yet to be approved.
It was not mentioned why the plans have yet to be approved and by which parties.
THE BALL IS IN MALAYSIAN AUTHORITIES’ COURT
Based on previous reports by the Indonesian media, the Dumai Port has long been ready to start the long-awaited RoRo service.
A top Indonesian official was reportedly said that the service was delayed because some Malaysian authorities have yet to give their consent for the service to proceed.
It was reported that approvals from the Road Transport Department and other related agencies must be obtained for the service to commence operations.
RORO SERVICE MUST BECOME A REALITY
The trade and tourism sectors between Malaysia and Indonesia are expected to experience further growth once the first RoRo service between Tanjung Bruas Port and Dumai Port begin operations.
It was reported that with such a service in place, the cost of goods transportation between the two ASEAN countries will become cheaper and faster as goods transported by lorries from Sumatra can reach traders in Malaysia and vice-versa, directly through the RoRo service.
In addition to spur on trade activities, the RoRo service could also be utilised as an alternative route by both Malaysian and Indonesian tourists travelling between the two countries.
In conclusion, as Adly has pointed it out, the RoRo service will generate a lot of beneficial economic activities for both countries.
The project should be realised soonest possible.
Over to you, Malaysian authorities.