With 95% Local Content, Palembang LRT Showcases Indonesian Engineering Capability
The country`s first Light Rail Transit (LRT) finally comes on line to welcome the 2018 Asian Games in this South Sumatra capital.
Construction of the LRT with a 24-kilometer long elevated track extending between the Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II International Airport and the Jakabaring sport center in the city took 2.5 years showcasing the capability of Indonesian engineers in building modern infrastructure facility.
The Rp10.9 trillion project has a local content of 95 percent. The cost is relatively cheap compared with those of Malaysia and Manila of the Philippines.
Why it could be cheaper? It is built by moderately paid local engineers with high local content.
The project was built by the state-owned construction company PT Waskita Karya.
Chief Executive of Waskita Karya I Gusti Ngurah Putra said the company used local engineers in doing all construction work. Imports were needed only for concrete strands, which are not yet produced locally.
The train cars are produced and supplied by the state-owned rolling stock company PT INKA, saving the government large foreign exchange.
A director of PT INKA Budi Noviantoro took pride especially in the design saying the LRT used coaches designed by Indonesians, adding, "this was not something usual."
The procurement cost for train sets is also relatively cheap at Rp48.5 billion compared with the prices of train sets paid by other countries, he said.
Construction of the project which began in 2014, is to be completed this month to be operational ahead of the 18th Asian Games in August this year. Palembang and Jakarta will co-host the largest sports event in Asia.
With the many sharp bends, the rails are non standard in measure but designed specially to suit the condition and the speed of the train is limited to 50-60 kilometers.
"This shows the capability of the nation in innovation in building modern infrastructure in urban areas," an observer said.
The LRT uses engines imported from Germany as the country could not yet produces the components for the engines.
PT INKA, however, said it is optimistic it is only a matter of time before it could produce the engine as progress has been made in researches by a number of Indonesian high educational institutions.
Meanwhile, PT INKA focused its efforts on producing train sets including for exports. PT INKA has exported 500 units of coaches of passenger train to Bangladesh, and three locomotives to the Philippines. Currently, INKA has received order from Thailand but the order is still being negotiated. More orders are expected from other countries.
President Joko Widodo said he is optimistic that Indonesia would in the future rank among the world class LRT producers.
The president said LRT would be built in other areas in the country, adding "This time South Sumatra, later Jakarta and plan is made for Medan, Surabaya and Bandung."
"It is not impossible that we would export LRT," he said while on board of the LRT on a trial run from the Icon Mall station to the Jakabaring station in Palembang.
He said the Indonesian made LRT is much more convenient than LRT he had tried in other countries, adding, "We deserve to be proud for what we have achieved."
The LRT is needed not only to facilitate transport during the Asian Games but also for longer term as it would cope with congestion in the city streets.
Source : antaranews.com