Posts tagged transport

Indonesian courier start-up Go-Jek wins fame, prize

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Small Indonesian start-up Go-Jek is getting plenty of coverage today after winning a US$10,000 prize in the Global Entrepreneurship Program: Indonesia. The company, which uses ‘ojeks’ (motorcycle taxis) as courier drivers, also accepted donations from a prominent US entrepreneur and is looking into further partnerships with foreign companies.

Click here for a CNN Video report on Go-Jek

Indonesia’s cities, especially Jakarta, have become notorious for traffic gridlock in recent years, as the booming economy puts more vehicles on the roads than current infrastructure can handle. Short of a helicopter, the best way to beat traffic jams is on the back of a motorcycle, and there are plenty of people offering the back half of their saddle for a reasonable price.

Go-Jek took the concept of ojek service and made it more reputable with a bright green branded image and reliable drivers. In operation since February 2011, they take passengers and will courier any package that can be carried on a motorcycle. As well as being cheap, the company offers a decent and much-needed income stream to Jakarta’s legions of motorcycle riders.

The Jakarta Globe has an interview with 27 year-old co-founder and chief executive Nadiem Makarim, who founded Go-Jek in February 2011 with partners Brian Cu and Michaelangelo Moran. The company now has seven full time employees, over 200 regular drivers, 80 pick-up points across Jakarta with over 600 unique customers and 50-60 jobs a day. The founders plan to use their new fame and investment to drive a large expansion over the coming year.

The Global Entrepreneurship Program Indonesia (GEPI) held a showcase of Indonesian startups in Bali from 22-24 July, attracting interested angel investors from the US and around the world. Organizers said the response was “beyond expectations”.

sources & articles: CNN, Go-Jek, gepi-indonesia.org, Jakarta Globe

Infrastructure, construction boom in Southeast Asia: Reuters

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News of a boom in Southeast Asian infrastructure spending is creating excitement, according to this piece in Reuters. New government initiatives to attract investment and stimulate economic growth, along with added interest from Chinese investors, will see about US$20 billion worth of new construction projects due to begin across the region this year.

The article is most confident about projects in Thailand and Malaysia, which is about to start its $11.5 billion, three-line Klang Valley MRT railway network around Kuala Lumpur. It says the two countries are “believed to be in the early stages of a new infrastructure investment cycle,” with construction companies posting record orders.

Thailand wants to spend $62 billion in the next two decades to expand its electric rail network to 391km and start building a 23km new line on its metro system, both moves intended to increase traffic on its relatively under-utilized public transit system.

Singapore, with more modest construction projections, is also planning to expand its rail network to 280km from 138km by 2020.

Risks to investors are potential land acquisition issues in Malaysia, Thailand’s politics, a land reform bill in Indonesia and funding problems in the Philippines. Malaysia’s land laws were relatively clear compared to others, but projects with such ambitious land acquisition plans were susceptible to delays.

Analysts in the article were most optimistic about Malaysia’s IJM Corp Bhd and Gamuda Bhd, and Thailand’s Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction Pcl.

source & article: Reuters

Southeast Asia air travel news wrap: a big week

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A very interesting week the Southeast Asian air travel industry, with some big news coming out of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) meeting in Singapore. Some highlights were:

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) will join the Oneworld Alliance, joining a network that spans 900 destinations in over 146 countries. Members of the alliance align their various policies and procedures and adopt common specifications in service, engineering and maintenance, also reducing costs through parts-sharing and bulk buying. MAS’ entry, which was sponsored by Australian national carrier Qantas, saw the share price rise 1.4% to RM1.44, its first increase in three trading sessions. The Oneworld Alliance also includes British Airways, Cathay Pacific, American Airlines and Japan Airlines.

Singapore Airlines and Virgin Australia announced a long-term partnership, giving each access to dozens more routes in the Asian/Australian/Pacific region and enabling frequent fliers to earn and redeem points for each other’s flights. Two quirks of the agreement were: (1) it must still be approved by regulators before going ahead; and (2) it excludes the lucrative Australia-US routes long coveted by SIA, but from which it has been blocked by the Australian government.

Meanwhile, Singapore’s international gateway Changi Airport announced its passenger traffic would surpass 50 million a year by 2014. It’s already serving 42 million at present, and officials said it would have reached the 50 million mark even sooner if not for the global financial crisis a couple of years ago. Low cost carriers supply 22% of Changi’s numbers, while traffic to and from destinations in Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia grew 18%, compared to the airport’s total traffic growth of 13% in 2009.

sources: Bloomberg, The Star, IATA, Yahoo! Singapore, AirportBusiness.com

Malaysia’s Scomi wins Sao Paulo monorail construction contract

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A consortium led by Malaysia’s Scomi Engineering Bhd has won a RM2.6 billion contract to build an 18km monorail line in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city. The contract, beginning in July this year, will see Scomi and three local partners cover every aspect of the line’s construction from design, supply, manufacture and implementation.

The 18km ‘Gold Line’ monorail will need to carry 250,000 passengers per day from Jabaquara to Sau Paulo-Morumbi. Scomi itself will manage design and delivery of 24 three-car vehicle sets, and supply a vehicle management system (VMS), design for switches, system integration, system assurance, and testing & commissioning. The contract also includes construction of 18 stations.

Sao Paulo has six million cars, one of the world’s largest fleets, and is famous for its chronic traffic congestion. Currently, the city operates a suburban train system, a fast-lane bus network, and is in the process of constructing an underground metro. Scomi Engineering specializes in monorail and bus systems as well as specialized vehicles like tankers and compactors, and is moving into more international markets after supplying its products to the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions for years.

source & article: The Edge Malaysia, Scomi Engineering

 

Garuda to develop new air hub at Makassar

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Indonesia’s national airline Garuda announced this week it would develop South Sulawesi’s capital Makassar as a ‘third hub’, after Jakarta and Denpasar (Bali). The state-owned company said its move was part of the government’s ‘Six National Economic Development Corridors’ concept to identify and nurture unique economic strengths in Indonesia’s regional areas.

Garuda’s CEO Emirsyah Satar said the airline was “always responsive towards market trends and quick to cash in on growing economic potentials in various regions,” and added his hopes to increase passenger travel, improve service and thus stimulate the local economy.

Under Indonesia’s Six Economic Corridors plan, Makassar is being developed as a business hub. With a population of nearly 1.5 million, the city has a plum strategic location both in Indonesia and between the growing markets of Australia and East Asia, and a 70% service-based economy. Garuda runs direct flights from the city to other business centers, like Singapore and Balikpapan in Borneo. Sulawesi Island itself is being developed as a production and manufacturing center for agriculture, plantation, fishery and the national nickel mining products.

From now on, travelers from Makassar can fly Garuda direct to thirteen domestic and international destinations.: Ambon, Balikpapan, Biak, Denpasar, Jakarta, Jayapura, Palu, Surabaya, Gorontalo, Manado, Ternate, Timika, and Singapore.

source & article: Garuda

FedEx plans major regional hub at Singapore’s Changi

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FedEx has chosen Singapore’s Changi Airport for a 282,700 sq foot Regional Hub, the second-largest facility of its type in the Asia-Pacific region. Scheduled for completion in 2012, it will bring Singapore’s FedEx delivery, pick-up and air operations all under the one roof. Singapore, the company said, was chosen for its access to global markets, central location, and aspiration to be a leading regional air cargo hub.

The FedEx facility will form part of Changi airport’s Air Cargo Express (ACE) hub, inside Singapore’s Airport Logistics Park and Changi’s Free Trade Zone. It will be equipped to handle more than 9,000 packages per hour with a 5-belt sorting system and has parking bays to house 250 delivery vans and two aircraft. Singapore Customs and the Immigration & Checkpoint Authority will also have a facility on-site to streamline cargo clearance.

source & article: AsiaOne Business

Australian companies urged to bid for Asian transport projects

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Australia’s international trade development agency Austrade is encouraging local firms to get involved in a series of major transport proposals across Asia. The region’s emerging big hitters have realized the importance of solid infrastructure to support their booming economies and logistical needs, especially airport expansion and roadway construction.

Among the projects Austrade has flagged for attention are Indonesia’s US$255 million Ngurah Rai Denpasar Bali International Airport expansion and accompanying expressway, due to open before the 2013 APEC Summit, new expressway and metro line projects in Vietnam, and development of numerous transport plans and policies for the Philippines. There’s also the $2.3 billion Phase 2 of Thailand’s Suvarnabhumi Airport improvement involving a third runway and new passenger terminals. As well as the Southeast Asian projects, giants China and India are also active in the infrastructure boom, with Beijing planning a second airport and India investigating dedicated freight rail corridors (DFCs) and over 70,000km of proposed new roadways.

Austrade’s Senior Export Adviser Stan Roche said Australian companies could offer their expertise in several areas, not only in design and engineering but also in finance advisory and expertise in dealing with public-private partnerships (PPP). There were also other opportunities in related fields like security systems and technology.

source: Austrade

Airline Firefly launches new hub in Iskandar Malaysia region

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Malaysian local airline Firefly has banked on the Iskandar Development Region, launching a fifth hub in Senai. The area was currently an “ugly duckling” that would soon blossom, and is far cheaper than having a base at Singapore’s Changi airport, said the company’s managing director Eddy Leong.

Firefly aims to have nine aircraft flying by the end of 2011, including seven 737-800 and two 737-400 aircraft, the latter to be based at the new Senai hub. Leong stressed that his company didn’t intend to use Senai to compete with Changi, but to complement it. Transport services along the Singapore-Johor Bahru corridor are expected to improve in future, making Senai a practical alternative to low cost carriers.

Firefly also announced new flights from Johor Bahru to Kuching and Kota Kinabalu to begin in May/June, and is applying to operate flights even further afield to Bangkok and Jakarta, Surabaya and Bandung. The airline plans to carry 3.5 million passengers this year from Senai and its four existing hubs at Kota Kinabalu, Subang, Kuala Lumpur International Airport and Penang.

The Senai segment of the Iskandar Malaysia special economic region is growing fast, and within five years it should see mega projects constructed such as a new private hospital operated by Columbia Asia, a branch of the UK’s Marlborough College Malaysia, plus shopping malls and theme parks.

source & article: The Edge Malaysia

Malaysia’s Mrails seeking out new export markets for trains

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Malaysian train, tram and monorail manufacturer Mrails International Sdn Bhd is looking for new export markets, particularly in South Asia and Africa. Although the company says it is not in active discussion with anybody at the moment, it hopes to take part in a Matrade-organized overseas trade mission next month learn more about the market from other cities.

Mrails’ current major local project is the Malacca (Melaka) Tram, a RM272 million (US$89.24 million) light rail operation launched just last week and expected to be operating by May 2012. The project is a join venture aimed at carrying 40,000 passengers a day, with Mrails owning a 80% share and Malacca’s government-owned Chief Minister Incorporation (CMI) taking 20%. Mrails is developing its rolling stock in partnership with China’s CNR Tangshan Railway Vehicles Co Ltd.

No further information is available at this stage, but Mrails is also reportedly working on plans for India, Sri Lanka, South African and Angola. The company says it hopes to have new export customers by next year.

source & article: Business Times

Jakarta the busiest airport in Southeast Asia

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Here’s an interesting fact: in 2010, Jakarta’s Soeharto-Hatta airport became the busiest in Southeast Asia with a whopping 43.7 million passengers received in 2010, up 17.7% on the previous year, according to eTurboNews.

This news might surprise anyone who assumed a higher profile hub like Singapore’s Changi or Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi would take the crown. After all, both feature shiny, modern and award-winning terminals designed to handle larger numbers and both saw double-digit percentage passenger increases in 2010. Domestic passengers were by far the majority of Jakarta’s traffic, with internationals making up only 9 million (20-22%) of the total. Bangkok, on the other hand, received 33 million international passengers (77% of its total 42.78 million) and Singapore is the busiest international gateway with a total of 42.08 million passengers (as a city-state, all flights are international).

Indonesians’ increased purchasing power is the main reason for an increase in air travel, with 43.7 million domestic passengers country-wide in 2010, a 22% increase from 2009. Total international passenger numbers also grew 20% to 9.6 million in the same period. Both numbers are expected to continue increasing in 2011 and beyond.

The pressure is now on to upgrade Soeharto-Hatta’s facilities. Like other infrastructure in Indonesia it has struggled to keep up with economic growth, and could be a barrier to further growth without improvements. The airport’s official capacity of 22 million per year is only half the 2010 total, and there is still no rail link to the city center. The government has acknowledged the problem and the airport’s state-controlled operator, Angkasa Pura II, plans to expand the newer Terminal 3′s capacity from 4 to 20 million passengers by 2012/13, starting April this year. Work on a brand new Terminal 4 will also begin this year, intended to take the airport’s total capacity to 60 million per year by 2016, and rumors have begun to circulate that the rail link will finally be constructed. A recent agreement with Japan will bring in US$31 billion investment in Jakarta’s transport infrastructure.

source & article: eTurboNews

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