Identifying gaps that might limit the impact of South Sulawesi’s first railway

View this Media Release as a PDF

A new railway line is set to transform South Sulawesi, but how can we maximise its impact? The transport, logistics and supply chain systems around it will certainly play a key role.


Linking the capital city of Makassar with Parepare to its north, the railway has the potential to significantly improve the lives and livelihoods of communities along its path.

Read the latest updates from the PAIR Pilot Projects [September 2020]

An interdisciplinary team of researchers from the Australia-Indonesia Centre will examine the state of transport, logistics and supply chains in the province, and the potential impact of the railway on them. They will then develop strategies to ensure the impact is as positive, far-reaching and equitable as possible.

This research will be undertaken remotely, with no travel required.



Construction of this first stage of the Trans-Sulawesi Railway, the first railway in eastern Indonesia, is currently underway thanks largely to President Jokowi’s infrastructure investment bonanza that focuses on under-developed regions.

For the railway line to be effective and make a real difference to the people of South Sulawesi, it needs to integrate with many other systems and organisations.

For freight transport, the railway needs to be connected to ports, intermodal facilities, and industrial zones. Appropriate policies to manage freight operations and cope with increased usage as commodity production grows will also be crucial.

For public transport, the railway needs to be integrated with buses, needs to have services and schedules matched with demand, and needs to be reasonably priced, with appropriate management structure and coordination.

Environmental factors also need to be considered to avoid creating hazards for railway users and the neighbouring communities, and also to minimise environmental impact.

Researchers will gather information on the transport, logistics and supply chain systems in South Sulawesi and identify any gaps that could hold back the potential of the new infrastructure. Later, their findings will inform strategies for realising the vision of a fully integrated and effective transport system.

This project will conduct analysis on:

  • spatial and environmental information on the region around the Makassar-Parepare railway line
  • transport master plans for Makassar and South Sulawesi, including any gaps
  • estimates on demand for freight services
  • plans for governance and management structures of rail services
  • capacities estimates for the planned rail infrastructure.


The research team

PAIR domain: Transport, logistics and supply chain

Senior Fellows: Prof. Siti Malkhamah (UGM), Prof. Nyoman Pujawan (ITS), Prof. Andreas Ernst (Monash)

Associate Fellows: Dr Dyah Rahmawati Hizbaron (UGM), Dr Imam Muthohar (UGM), Dr Ira Mutiara Anjasmara (ITS), Dr Tony Dwi Susanto (ITS), Dr Simon Bowly (Monash)

This is the final of four PAIR Pilot Projects. Previously we announced projects from the domains ‘Young people skills and development’ and ‘Young people, health and wellbeing’ and ‘Commodities’.


Australian Media enquiries

Marlene Millott
PAIR Program Officer
+61 427 516 851

Indonesian Media enquiries

Fadhilah Trya Wulandari
PAIR Program Officer
+62 8124 3637 755


About PAIR

PAIR is the flagship program for the AIC’s new research model, supported by the Australian Government, the Indonesian Government, the South Sulawesi Provincial Government and the AIC’s eleven university partners.

Focused on South Sulawesi, PAIR explores the western coastal region of the province where a new 145-kilometre railway line is being built, connecting two major cities and three regencies: Makassar, Maros, Pangkajene, Barru and Parepare.  It will explore four key areas: seaweed as a major commodity; transport, logistics and supply chain; young people health and wellbeing; and young people skills and development.

Visit the PAIR website for more information.


About The Australia-Indonesia Centre

Through its In Conversation webinars, the Australia-Indonesia Centre has dissected the impacts of COVID-19 from perspectives including public health, economics, governance, international trade and international education. PAIR research will add to these efforts as we continue to seek ways to work together towards recovery and continued development.

The AIC is a consortium of 11 leading research universities in both countries. Its mission is to advance people-to-people links in science, technology, education, innovation and culture.

Visit the AIC website for more information.