>> Changing picture on the Far East – WCSA trade lane. more.

>> USA tariffs on steel and aluminium. more.

>> Top 10 shipping lines control the deep sea market. more.

>> Indonesia cabotage.more.

>> Panamax vessels.more.

>>UNCTAD liner shipping connectivity index.more.

>>New freight forecasts for Network Rail.more.

>>Global supply and demand for container shipping.more.

>>Mid Wales and Marches freight strategy.more.

>> MDST's projections for 2017.more.

>> SM Line - its first months.more.

>> North American East Coast Port Expansion.more.

>> Japan-EU Trade Deal.more.

>> The Ocean Network Express.more.

>> The Qatar crisis: impact on container shipping services.more.

>> Maritime Professional Services Award.more.

>> Invest in rail freight to cut road congestion.more.

>> South Bradford Lorry Parking Study.more.

>> New Mega Alliances.more.

>> Businesses have their say on freight transport in the Marches.more.

>> Free trade zones at UK ports & airports.more.

>> Non alliance shipping lines.more.

>> New mega alliances.more.

>> Transpacific - port coverage from April 1st.more.

>> Are direct services becoming less attractive for shipping lines?. more.

>> What happens to the small ships post Panama Canal expansion?. more.

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Indonesia cabotage

Having one of the longest coastlines in the world stretching over 50,000km, you would be forgiven for thinking that Indonesia would potentially be a major player in the container shipping industry. However, a lack of investment in infrastructure and prohibitive legislation in recent years has left it with a lack of direct deepsea shipping connections, instead being reliant on feeder traffic from the regional transhipment hubs in Malaysia and Singapore.

Indonesia is, however, following government policy direction, now embarking on a major port infrastructure project, which is expected to re-establish deep sea container shipping services. As it stands, Jakarta is the only Indonesian port with a weekly deep sea container service. The Indonesian government plans to overcome this by building new, and expanding existing, terminals so that the country ends up with five deep sea ports supported by over a dozen feeder ports.  The five deep sea ports are: Belawan (North Sumatra), Kalibaru (Jakarta), Patimban (West Java), Surabaya (East Java) and Makassar (South Sulawesi). Given the dispersed nature of Indonesia’s urban geography and population, shipping lines are likely to want to call at more than one Indonesian port and carry domestic trade, especially on services sailing between the Far East and Australasia. The restriction of the country’s cabotage law (coupled with the lack of suitable port infrastructure) has hitherto prevented this from happening.

 In April 2017 the first direct container service between the USA (East & West Coast) and Indonesia was initiated; Ocean Alliance’s COLUMBUS/SEA2/PE1 service started calling at Jakarta. The 17 vessels with an average 9,100 teu deployed on this service were the largest calling at an Indonesian port on a regular basis. A few months later in July 2017 CMA-CGM launched the SEANE service, linking North Europe with South East Asia. This was the first container service connection between Europe and Indonesia since 2011, when Jakarta was a call on the MSC – Australia Express service.  The sustainability of the SEANE service is questionable given its lack of scale: deploying panamax sized (4-5,000teu) vessels on a trade lane that is often characterised by vessels of up to 21,000 teu.

 Thanks to its location, Jakarta continues to receive regular direct calls to Australasia & Oceania, with weekly services provided by COSCO, Hapag-Lloyd, OOCL and MSC. CMA-CGM subsidiary ANL also operates a fortnightly service to Papua New Guinea.

Table 1: Deep sea fully cellular services calling into Indonesia, January 2018


No of vessels

Regions served

 Deployed capacity (TEU)

 Av vessel size (TEU)



Far East - Australasia & Oceania





Europe & Med - Far East





Far East - Australasia & Oceania





Far East - Australasia & Oceania





Gulf & ISC - Far East - North America



Source: MDS Transmodal Containership Databank, January 2018

Indonesia’s geography of some 10,000 inhabited islands makes maritime transport crucial within the country. Indonesian shipping law states that domestic trade has to be carried out by an Indonesian shipping company with national flagged vessel and crew; examples of operators are Meratus, Salam Pacific and Temas Lines. Vessel sizes have tended to be small on the domestic trades with average sizes less than 1,000 teu; Salam Pacific however has recently been acquiring vessels in the 2,200-3,500 teu range.

Figure 1: Deployed capacity calling at Indonesia; container services by trade lane 

Source: MDS Transmodal Containership Databank, January 2018

The total deployed capacity passing through Indonesian ports is 9,746,630 teu, of which 87% is deployed on the Intra-Far East trade, as indicated in Figure 1. Some of this deployed capacity can be attributed to intra-regional short sea traffic with its close trading partners. However, 64% of intra Far-East capacity involves a call into one or more of the South East Asian hubs of Singapore, Tanjung Pelepas or Port Klang, indicating a reliance on these transhipment ports.

There has been progress with the introduction of the CMA-CGM and Ocean Alliance services in the last 12months. However, for a country with an emerging economy and the world’s fourth largest population, Indonesia has a way to go before it fulfils its potential in the container shipping industry. A lack of investment in maritime and landside infrastructure has prevented global connectivity and trade growth. The new port strategy of having a few hubs and a number of feeder ports can only be effective if progressive policies are adapted such as the removal of the restrictive cabotage law, as has been documented in the recent OECD report (The impact of Mega-Ships: The Case of Jakarta).