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Benoa Port Upgrade at a Standstill?

Lower Number of Ship Visits Cause a Re-Think of Bali Port Expansion Plans.

(9/29/2003) Statements made by various port officials at the opening of the ASEAN Ports Association (APA) meeting in Bali on September 25, 2003, seem to indicate that plans to expand and modernize the Benoa port facility are at least at a temporary standstill.

Less Traffic, Less Revenues

The Manager of the Benoa Port, Prayitno, quoted in the Indonesian-language Bali Post, said "in the past years an average of 50 foreign vessels visited the port, while following the Bali bombing only one foreign vessel has paid a call." As a result, revenues targeted from the port's operation of Rp. 14 billion (approximately US$ 1.65 million) may only hit Rp. 8 billion (approximately US$ 941,000) this year.

Port Upgrade Now on Back Burner?

Benoa, serving as Bali's only protected port, is the subject of a master plan that would see an upgrade in the passenger, cargo and fishery handling capability. That master plan - opposed by many groups because of the port's geographic position in an environmentally-sensitive mangrove basin, has been awaiting government approval for more than 2 years. If implemented, the plan call for the expansion of the port facility from its current 60 hectares to 250 hectares.

According to Prayitno, the economic downturn and lower port utilization has lessened the sense of urgency surrounding the port's expansion plans.