Friday, May 31, 2024 | 05:30 WIB

Sustainable transportation system throughout Nusantara

Jakarta, IO – The National Capital of Nusantara, abbreviated “IKN,” viewing itself as the “World City for All,” possesses a vision of becoming a symbol of national identity, a sustainable global metropolis, and a driving force in Indonesia’s future economy. Transportation planning is thus a critical factor in support of convenient access and mobility for those traversing the city as well as the logistics of IKN. As an environmentally friendly public transportation option, water transportation tops the choices to improve IKN access. The use of water transportation is expected to reduce pressure on land routes, while also presenting a tourist alternative.

East Kalimantan Province holds numerous rivers, with the Mahakam being the largest in the province, flowing into the Makassar Strait. Stretching approximately 920 km, the Mahakam, the second-longest river in Indonesia, traverses from the north of West Kutai to Kutai Kartanegara and Samarinda in the south. This great waterway has played a pivotal role in the lives of surrounding communities, serving as a source of water for fisheries and other industries, as well as transportation infrastructure, from ancient times to the present day.

Residents of IKN buffer zones in North Penajam Paser and Balikpapan primarily rely on speedboats, kelotok watercraft and ferries for mobility. The number of passengers aboard these vessels more than doubled during Eid al-Fitr. In 2020, the port counted 38,864 travelers and 28,324 vessels from Penajam Pier to Balikpapan, and welcomed 53,701 people and 27,081 vessels from Balikpapan City (BPS, 2021).

Technology transfer

The people of East Kalimantan depend on its many rivers; in spite of this, river transportation has declined, along with current development. Research conducted by Imron and Sudiyono (2022) indicates that this is largely due to the development of land transportation, leading many people to switch modes. In addition, unfortunate changes in the condition of the river, including silting and narrowing, contribute to its decline in popularity.

River transportation remains crucial for certain inland communities, and for the local government’s efforts in promoting river-based tourism. The establishment of IKN implies a rising energy demand. Future transportation is expected to be powered by clean and renewable energy, requiring efficient, economical, and environmentally-friendly energy infrastructure.

Indonesia’s first electric ship, MV Iriana, was designed and built by the Ministry of Industry, in collaboration with the national shipbuilding industry, at PT Sumber Marine Shipyard. With a capacity of 9,300 deadweight tons (DWT), this is Asia’s third electric ship, following efforts in Japan and Taiwan. The ship, named after the First Lady, Iriana Joko Widodo, is said to be more advanced, saving up to 20 percent on fuel, compared to roughly 10 percent in Japan. Users have begun to choose to travel on MV Iriana, despite its limits.

Another such advanced watercraft, an electric speedboat, was once developed by Sasak Speedboat, an SME in West Nusa Tenggara Province, in collaboration with PLN (the state electricity company). The prototype electric vessel, or “e-boat”, is designed as compact people transport. However, the prototype e-boat is not yet ready to go into public service.

Bonataon M.T. Vincent Simandjorang, Research Center for Public Policy, National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN)

A step forward

The development of an intelligent, integrated, and environmentally-friendly transportation system will support not only IKN transportation development plans but will also traverse the country, simultaneously invigorating the national electric shipbuilding industry, pioneered by MV Iriana and Sasak Speedboat.

The government needs to take several measures to develop water transportation. First, there is a need for applied research, focusing on implementing potential electric ship technology across the country. As the nation’s think tank and workshop, the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) plays a crucial role in applied research for producing electric ships and water transportation governance.

Second, ship providers must somehow accommodate the high cost of electric-powered ship engines, which requires financing schemes, including incentives, to support the transition from fossil-fueled-powered watercraft to electric-based vessels.

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Lastly, there is a need for policy coherence and coordination, by involving relevant stakeholders in realizing the program. Coordination must extend beyond the central government and state-owned enterprises (BUMN). It must also engage regional governments (provinces, regencies, and cities), regional-owned enterprises (BUMD), non-governmental elements (ship owners), various elements of civil society organizations (CSOs), and industry associations, including the Indonesian National Shipowners’ Association (INSA) and the Association of Indonesian Ship and Offshore Companies (IPERINDO).

Following MRT, LRT, and High-Speed Rail in Jakarta, environmentally-friendly energy-based water transportation demonstrates the progress of the country’s transportation sector. Civil engagement and evidence-based policies, based on scientific data and research, should be distinctive elements in developing sustainable transportation across the country.