INDONESIA: The government is to hold a ‘beauty contest’ to evaluate rival bids for construction of a 150 km Jakarta – Bandung high speed line, Co-ordinating Economic Minister Sofyan Djalil said on July 13.

Rival offers backed by their respective governments have been put forward by consortia from China and Japan, to be funded via bilateral loans to be repaid over 50 years.

Following a cabinet meeting chaired by President Joko Widowo, Djalil said that the Indonesian government would appoint a consultancy from a third country to evaluate the merits of the two offers, and that the government would determine the final alignment of the high speed line, including precise start and end points.

The Japanese proposal is reported to envisage creation of a multimodal hub at Manggarai in the suburbs of Jakarta, while the Chinese offer suggests making use of land owned by the air force at Halim, east of the capital.

A Japanese-led pre-feasibility study in 2011 had examined the viability of a 144 km route, which would offer an end-to-end journey time of approximately 45 min. Currently national operator PT KAI’s 1 067 mm gauge locomotive-hauled services over the 170 km conventional line take around 3 h.