Bridge linking Batam, Bintan in the works

The government wants to reposition Batam as an alternative shipping and manufacturing hub to Singapore with a potential to draw US$60 billion in new investment.
The government wants to reposition Batam as an alternative shipping and manufacturing hub to Singapore with a potential to draw US$60 billion in new investment.PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA • Indonesia plans to start building next year its longest sea bridge to connect two islands near Singapore and boost growth as well as trade with the neighbouring hub.

The 7km bridge connecting Batam and Bintan will cost as much as 4 trillion rupiah (S$386 million) and construction is set to take three to four years, the country's Cabinet secretariat said in a statement yesterday.

President Joko Widodo, who recently secured his second term in office, is embarking on a more than US$400 billion (S$542 billion) infrastructure push.

The government wants to reposition Batam as an alternative shipping and manufacturing hub to Singapore, with potential to draw US$60 billion in new investment.

The ministry in charge of public works is preparing a feasibility study and analysing engineering designs, and aims to complete these by year end, according to the statement.

Indonesia is developing the Batam area to tap opportunities potentially arising from trade tensions between the United States and China, according to Mr Edy Putra Irawady, head of the Batam Development Body.

The bridge also aims to capitalise on the expansion of Singapore's Changi Airport, with the development of a new Terminal 5, which will have transport connections to Bintan.

Indonesia wants the bridge to reduce logistics costs, improve connectivity and boost tourism in the area.

Mr Joko's administration is also reviewing the possibility of connecting Peninsular Malaysia with the Indonesian island of Sumatra, Mr Danang Parikesit, head of the Indonesia's toll-road regulator, said in an interview last month.

BLOOMBERG, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 12, 2019, with the headline 'Bridge linking Batam, Bintan in the works'. Print Edition | Subscribe