Recap: Day 2 of the PAIR Digital Summit 2020

“Maximising the impact of South Sulawesi’s new railway line” was held on 26 November 2020.


Day 2 of the PAIR Annual Summit focused on the new railway line that is being built in Sulawesi, the first stage of which will connect South Sulawesi from Makassar to Parepare.

The railway line has potential to transform the economy and opportunities for the community in the province. PAIR researchers are working to provide advice on how to ensure freight and passenger transport runs smoothly and the transport system is fully integrated and effective.

Opening the Summit

The Indonesian Minister of Transport Budi Karya Sumadi opened Day 2. He expressed his appreciation to PAIR for spotlighting connectivity in South Sulawesi, noting that the railway project was a priority project for the Indonesian Government.

“The development of the Makassar-Parepare railway line will bring positive changes, especially in advancing the local economy,” Minister Budi said.

Policy Forum

At the Policy Forum, PAIR welcomed to the panel Professor Wihana Kirana Jaya, Special Staff to the Minister of Economic Affairs and Transportation; Prakosa Hadi Takariyanto, Technical Director and Pelindo IV; Dr Hendra Pachri from the Governor’s Team for Accelerating Development; and Dr Arafah, Head of the South Sulawesi Transport Office. PAIR Research Coordinator Dr Hasnawati Saleh moderated the session.

During the panel, Prof Wihana explained the impact the railway line would have on the province.

“We will be connected like never before,” he said. “Businesses will have access, corporations will have access, the community will have access as passengers… We also have an economic opportunity to maximise the value chain.”

Prof Wihana expressed optimism that the increased connectivity and movement of goods could support the province’s economic recovery from COVID-19. He also discussed the importance of the railway line being accessible to different community groups, including people with disabilities.

Dr Hendra agreed, and discussed the importance of community education to encourage the local population to use the train. He also mentioned the potential for employment opportunities that would arise, not just from the trainline itself, but also from additional investment that would be spent in its surrounding areas.

Prakosa Hadi Takariyanto from Pelindo IV, which is the Port Authority for Eastern Indonesia, discussed the upgrades and expansions of South Sulawesi’s ports. This infrastructure development complements the construction of the railway line in connecting goods and passengers in the province and allowing for an increase in volume of services.

Research Forum

The second session of the day was a Research Forum featuring PAIR Senior Fellows Professor Nyoman Pujawan from Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember, Professor Andreas Ernst from Monash University and Professor Siti Malkhamah from Universitas Gadjah Mada, moderated by AIC Head of Communications Helen Brown.

During this panel session, the researchers emphasised the importance of the integration of a whole transport system.

“To have a transformational impact, we need not just the railway infrastructure, but a whole ecosystem of the transport system around that helps to connect the people and the industries within the catchment area of the railway, to allow a more efficient transport across the whole region,” said Professor Andreas.

Connecting bus services, park and ride facilities for motorcycles and road connections should be part of transport master planning, added Professor Siti.

Professor Siti also mentioned the importance of understanding the transport users needs, particularly in communities living along the railway line.

“We need to understand what they do every day and then the origin and destination of their trips, and also what mode of transport they use every day,” she said. “And we would like to understand where the shifting to railway transport will be beneficial for them.”

The panel also discussed potential challenges the railway line may face. One of these arises from the construction of it as a single track. This design could limit the amount of freight services that can run and cause delays in passenger services, as both services would use the same track and freight services move at a slower speed. Professor Nyoman said that an effective scheduling system could help alleviate some of these issues, and that PAIR would be working to support the local authorities on this.


The AIC was glad to welcome Alison Duncan, Minister Counsellor for Investment and Infrastructure at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta to give closing remarks. Alison thanked all those involved for an engaging and relevant discussion on the role of infrastructure supporting the development of communities. She emphasised the importance of ensuring vulnerable groups can benefit from investments such as this, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Alison also praised all parties involved in the collaborative research effort of PAIR to generate research-based evidence to drive better policy outcomes.

For more on Day 2 of the PAIR Summit 2020, head here.

Picture of Marlene Millott

PAIR Program Officer
The Australia-Indonesia Centre