At least 10 companies eying up $100 million airport-rail project

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

At least 10 local and overseas firms have expressed interest in participating in the construction of the Rp 900 billion (about US$100 million) rail link between Manggarai in East Jakarta and Soekarno-Hatta International Airport,

Masjraul Hidayat, president director of PT RailLink, which will operate the airport line, said Wednesday in Jakarta that at least 10 companies had so far submitted proposals.

"We've received so many expressions of interest. At least 10 investors have submitted proposals for this project since it was officially put on the table at the Indonesian Infrastructure 2006 expo early last month," he was quoted as saying by Bisnis Indonesia on Thursday.

Masjraul said that some of the investors were interested in providing financing and taking a stake in the project, while others wanted to work as contractors on the construction of the line.

He said that so far, most of the would-be investors came from the banking and construction sectors, including Bank International Indonesia (BII), Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) and the Bukaka Group, a diversified construction and engineering contractor.

RailLink is currently studying the financing schemes proposed by the 10 companies. Further proposals from other interested investors will be accepted for the next two weeks, Masjraul said.

"We believe that many investors will be interested in this project as some 30 million passengers travel through Soekarno-Hatta every year. So this project clearly offers a major opportunity," he said.

RailLink is a joint venture between PT Kereta Api (KA), with a 60 percent stake, and PT Angkasa Pura II, with a 40 percent stake. The company will also develop airport rail links in Medan, Palembang, Yogyakarta and Surabaya.

Masjraul said that the airport train stations would be developed as major commercial and shopping centers, as was normal at major airports overseas.

The government is prioritizing the construction of the Soekarno-Hatta rail link for 2007, with the first trains expected to start running in 2008, or early 2009 at the latest.

The Transportation Ministry's director general of railways, Soemino Eko Saputro, has said that the government will leave it up to PT KA and PT Angkasa Pura II to make a final selection as regards the project investors. (01)
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