Although the start of construction of the USD $5.5 billion high-speed railway between Indonesia's capital city of Jakarta and Bandung (West Java) is still waiting for the necessary permits as well as a recommendation from the Governor of West Java, there are no crucial matters that disturb the project, says Sahala Lumban Gaol, Chairman of Pilar Sinergi BUMN Indonesia. Pilar Sinergi BUMN Indonesia is a consortium consisting of four Indonesian state-owned companies. Together with China Railway International Co Ltd, this consortium formed a joint venture to develop Indonesia's first high-speed railway project.
This joint venture, tasked to construct the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway, is called Kereta Cepat Indonesia China (KCIC). Pilar Sinergi BUMN Indonesia controls a 60 percent stake in this joint venture, while China Railway International Co Ltd controls the remaining 40 percent. Construction is expected to be completed by 2018 and should be fully operational by 2019. However, it is not known yet when the groundbreaking ceremony will be held.
In mid-October 2015, the Indonesian government announced that China - not Japan - was awarded the contract to construct this railway.
The groundbreaking ceremony was originally scheduled for 9 November 2015 in Purwakarta (West Java) but as various permits still need to be received, the ceremony will have to be postponed until the first quarter of 2016. An Indonesian government official said KCIC still needs to present various data, including an environmental impact analysis, the exact location of the stopovers and various technical matters, before being given the necessary permits.
Perkebunan Nusantara VIII, a state-owned tea and rubber plantation firm (and part of the Pilar Sinergi BUMN Indonesia consortium) said it will use (part of) its 3,000-hectares tea plantation in West Java for the high-speed railway. Previously, it planned to turn this tea plantation into a rubber plantation as higher temperatures in the area (after the Cipularang toll road became operational) limited the quality of harvested tea. However, after being included in the project, the company's land will be used for the high-speed railway. Here, one station will be established but there are also plans to develop a city, business center, convention center, educational institutions, agroindustry and agrotourism in this area.
It remains unknown how many stopovers will be constructed between the terminals in Jakarta and Bandung. To take advantage of the train's high-speed capacity it is important not to have too many stops on the route that stretches for approximately 150 km between both cities. There should also be the longer-term vision of creating a high-speed link between Jakarta and Surabaya (in East Java) somewhere in the future. Surabaya is the second-largest city of Indonesia and a fast train connection would certainly be good for the economy as it speeds up transportation of people and goods between both centers.