Transportation Infrastructure and Indonesian Development

Indonesia has enjoyed a lot of developmental successes over the past 50 years. Yet sometimes you realize just how far the country has to go. Here is one example, using Google Maps to illustrate how hard it is to drive across the island of Java—which is, for better or worse, the “core” or “center” of this sprawling archipelago.

Accordingly to Google, best case scenario: c. 700 km from Cilegon in Banten to Banyuwangi in East Java takes 27 hours…and one ferry. Seems about right, unfortunately. Many years back JMP and I took a microbus from Yogyakarta to Denpasar.

The trip took us two days, all on two-lane roads and driving far too fast for comfort. We did stop at Bromo for the night, but the point—that Indonesian development has a long way to go—should be clear.

Comments 2

  1. Samuel Clark October 24, 2012

    Couldn’t agree more. Last year I drove from Jakarta to Semarang at least a half dozen times, and I couldn’t believe the condition of this road on what would have to be one of the most important routes in Java and therefore Indonesia. Not only was it seriously pot holed in numerous places but there were still some two-lane sections and bridges which backed up traffic for hours. I began to feel sorry for truck drivers and their owners, who’s capital investments must deteriorate far quicker than necessary. Then there’s the extortion pushing up transportation costs up further. Apparently it’s so bad that it’s cheaper to transport apples from China to Jakarta than from Malang, particularly because MoF has improved customs processing in the last few years.

  2. Tom October 24, 2012

    Wow. My experiences driving in Java in the past three years or so have been in solely in the Jakarta-Bandung corridor (which is fine). I would never drive to Semarang if I could avoid it…train or plane for sure.

    But cheaper to get apples from China than Malang. That is pretty bad news.

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