The Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Private-Public Partnerships (PPP) for Infrastructure Development, hosted by the Government of the Republic of Indonesia and coordinated by the State Ministry for National Development Planning, took place in Jakarta from 14 to 17 April. The conference was organised in association with the United Nations ESCAP and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). UIC Director General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux participated in the conference and in fruitful exchanges during a panel session attended among others by Mr Tundjung Inderawan, Director General of Railways at Ministry of Transportation of Indonesia who spoke about the Indonesian vision for rail and a few of the PPP projects developed in this country.
“The railway sector has since the beginning of the 21st century seen large developments and this in many places, whether it is in developed or in developing countries. Railways are increasingly considered and recognised as a way - as a good way - of improving the mobility of goods and people; because it offers capacity and safety; because it boosts research and industry; because it creates jobs and increases the GDP. And this in particular times of financial crises such as this one” he said.
He added “there have been other financial crises in past years and decades, and we know very well that at the time there were deals to develop infrastructure, and at the time the focus was only on road infrastructure. This time we can see a keener interest in rail infrastructure if you just consider the involvement of worldwide institutions such as the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and UNESCAP. Furthermore, rail brings sustainability in terms of low-carbon emissions or optimised land planning, but it has to be financed and we all know it is very expensive; this is where PPP comes into the picture, because these are long-term investments, touching on and involving large sectors of the economy and society. PPP can vary in the methods of application, whether it’s the change of environment, the need for efficiency, private capital or innovation and the methods can be wide ranging from Design-Build to Build-Own-Operate, with a mix of public and private involvement. I personally participated in a very large infrastructure conference here in Jakarta which was dedicated to the Tsunami.
At the time rail did not exist. Today, what we see is the presence of rail in the opening ceremonies, with special workshops like this one, and in many discussions and projects arousing interest. So I think this is a very positive sign, and I hope with the 7 speakers we have we can touch on a few examples here in Indonesia or in other parts of the world which can show this dynamic momentum for rail”.