INDONESIA: On the fringes of the Asian-African Summit on April 22, President Joko Widodo and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding for the two countries to co-operate on the development of a high speed line between Jakarta and Bandung.

Provisionally costed at US$6·7bn, the high speed line forms one of a number of infrastructure projects in various sectors covered by the memorandum. A Japanese-led pre-feasibility study in 2011 had examined the viability of the proposed 144 km route, which would offer an end-to-end journey time of approximately 45 min. Currently national operator PT KAI’s locomotive-hauled services over the 170 km conventional line take around 3 h.

External funding sources will be required to undertake the Jakarta – Bandung project, as Indonesian Transport Minister Ignasius Jonan had previously stated that the government’s 2014-19 infrastructure investment programme would focus on enhancing networks for passengers and coal traffic in Java and Sumatra.

The government is also committed to building new railways on other islands in the archipelago. Construction of a network in Sulawesi is underway, several coal lines are planned for Kalimantan and a feasibility study has started for a 595 km network linking Sorong with Jayapura on the island of Papua.