State-owned transportation companies turn to logistics amid pandemic – Business

The transportation industry is among the sectors hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin).

Stay-at-home and physical-distancing policies, coupled with the closure of tourist destinations and shopping centers, have caused earnings in the sector to plummet.

In these trying times, national flag carrier PT Garuda Indonesia and state-owned train operator PT Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI) have decided to venture into the logistics sector.

While other airlines have launched new business ventures, such as a digital platform for Muslim travelers by Malaysian budget airline AirAsia and Thai flag-carrier Thai Airways’ pop-up restaurant, Garuda Indonesia will be focusing on cargo services, specifically export shipping, and charter flights. 

Garuda Indonesia president director Irfan Setiaputra said during a virtual press conference on Friday that the company consciously took the decision not to enter other types of businesses.

“I think it would not have a significant impact financially,” he said as quoted by

He further said that other types of businesses might not create a good impression for the company.

For its cargo service, Garuda Indonesia has opened several routes, including Manado-Tokyo and Denpasar-Hong Kong.

The routes are designed to accommodate exports of marine and fishery products.

Read also: From ‘aqiqah’ to airplane dining: Southeast Asian airlines go out of box to survive pandemic

Moreover, the airline also offers an app-based courier service KirimAja in collaboration with the company’s logistics line PT Aerojasa Cargo.

Irfan said in June that the new service was launched to stem the losses suffered by the airline in recent months due to mobility restrictions while still staying true to the company’s core mission to connect people across the archipelago.

“We hope this service can help small and medium enterprises to [increase] their profits,” he said, explaining that the service offered free delivery to customers as well as discounts of up to 50 percent for intercity deliveries.

As for KAI, the company reportedly signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with state-owned port operator PT Pelabuhan Indonesia (Pelindo III) for collaboration in the logistics sector on Friday.

The collaboration will facilitate distribution flow to Tanjung Emas Port in Semarang and Tanjung Intan Port in Cilacap, Central Java, as well as Tanjung Perak Port in Surabaya, East Java.

“We are responsible for developing the Central Java and southern Java regions. This collaboration will provide logistical convenience,” said KAI president director Didiek Hartantyo.

Didiek added that the collaboration would also benefit the community, especially logistics operators.

He expressed his hopes that the signing of the MoU would become a joint commitment and foundation for all parties in developing the logistics business. (jes)

Editor’s note: This article is part of a public campaign by the COVID-19 task force to raise people’s awareness about the pandemic.

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