Policy brief: Maximising the effectiveness of the South Sulawesi railway line
The railway line from Makassar to Parepare is set to be transformational for the people and economy of South Sulawesi and Indonesia more broadly. By providing a new freight corridor, it promises to provide easier access to domestic and international markets for farmers, miners and exporters of commodities such as seaweed, rice and cement. South Sulawesi residents are also set to benefit, with the line helping decongest local roads as well as allowing locals easier travel between cities and the option to find jobs further afield.
Since taking office in 2014, President Joko Widodo has spoken of the need for Indonesia to invest in infrastructure, particularly in regional areas. The railway represents an important step towards transport connectivity, contributing to the President’s aim of boosting Indonesian trade and commerce.
While the benefits are apparent, much work is still to be done from various stakeholders. Careful planning is particularly required to ensure rail’s key advantages over other forms of transport (cost, safety, speed, low emissions) are not lost along the way.
Analysts from the Partnership for Australia-Indonesia Research recently studied key aspects of the railway and identified a number of areas requiring further research, including hazards, pricing, intermodal freight, connectivity, and city planning.
As this document makes clear, for the line to be effective it needs to integrate with many systems, organisations and communities. Getting these right can go a long way towards South Sulawesi continuing its economic growth trajectory well into the future.