The explosions of Mount Merapi in Central Java and Mount Bromo in East Java are having an effect on passenger loads traveling on ferries connecting Java and Bali. Bali Post reports that since the series of volcanic eruptions began loads carried between the ports of Ketapang (Java) and Gilimanuk (Bali) have declined by 5%. The biggest decline in freight carried is in non-essential goods. Officials are also citing high seas as another contributing cause for the decline in ferry loads.
The head of the PT Indonesia Fery Ketapang-Gilimanuk, Chandra Damanik, said the decline in passenger and freight numbers has been felt over the past month. "Because of cold lava flows from Merapi and Bromo, road access in the eastern parts of Java has been affected in some areas. As a result, freight forwarders have cancelled the movement of shipments," explained Damanik.
Due to uncertain road conditions in Java, many freight companies are now sending goods on ships departing from Jakarta and Surabaya directly to Bali's port of Benoa.
Because of the high cost of shipping by sea, officials of the ferry company are confident that load levels will soon return to normal on the ferry crossing once cold lava flows ends.
Damanik said that in normal time, ferry traffic between Katapang and Gilimanuk is dominated by goods trucks, buses and pedestrians. On a daily basis, the ferries can carry as many as 600 trucks with surges in pedestrian and private vehicles happening during holiday periods.
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