S'pore & Indonesia in discussions over new port in Central Java: Lawrence Wong

The location of the port has yet to be determined.

Kayla Wong | May 19, 2022, 05:10 PM

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Finance Minister Lawrence Wong is in Indonesia from May 17 to 20 to reaffirm the two countries' strong bilateral relations and discuss new areas of growth.

One of the items on the agenda is the construction of a port in Kendal, located in the province of Central Java.

In a Facebook post on May 18, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto said that they had discussed cooperation in the Kendal Port development.

He further said it is "undeniable" that both countries are "the key to economic growth" in the Asean region.

According to Indonesian news site Merdeka, quoting Antara, Airlangga said the construction of a new port can hopefully facilitate the Kendal (SEZ) Special Economic Zone and KIT Batang (Integrated Industrial Estate), instead of building two new ports in each area.

Priority project for central government

Speaking to reporters after the welcome ceremony organised for Wong by the local Kendal government, Dico Ganinduto, the regent of Kendal, said the project has been prioritised by the central government as one of the key projects the country is handling, Lianhe Zaobao reported.

He added that they are currently in the process of deciding which Indonesia firm is suitable for the project with Singapore.

In addition, Wong said that the new port can be equipped with modern facilities and technology to further support economic activities, according to Merdeka. 

The rise of logistics and shipping costs are one of the factors that influence competitiveness, and the enterprises at Kendal SEZ hope to export to the rest of the world.

Therefore, they see "the demand for a port there", he said, adding that they hope the location of the port can be determined in the near future.

"Singapore, of course, wishes to do its part in supporting this important project, so as to benefit the Kendal SEZ, the Kendal regency, as well as the entire Central Java region."

Met with several Indonesian ministers

Taking to Facebook to write about his meetings with Airlangga and several other Indonesian ministers, Wong said he and Airlangga discussed ways to advance economic cooperation in Kendal Industrial Park and the Riau Islands of Batam, Bintan and Karimun.

During his trip, he also met with Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, and the two discussed opportunities to step up mutual cooperation, including in areas such as climate change and sustainability.

In his meeting with Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno, they spoke about opportunities to deepen cooperation while looking forward to exciting partnerships in new areas, such as sustainable tourism and creative industry.

Wong had also met Indonesia's Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto, and the two spoke about "the close and long-standing relations" between defence establishments in both countries.

In another Facebook post, Wong said this was his first visit to Indonesia as finance minister.

The two countries mark 55 years of diplomatic relations this year.

Describing the Southeast Asian country as a close neighbour of Singapore and an important partner, Wong said both countries have worked with each other for many years, and bilateral cooperation is deep and multifaceted in the economic, security, and people-to-people spheres.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Finance, Wong will also be meeting key business leaders and Singapore start-ups in Indonesia.

Top image via Airlangga Hartarto/Facebook