Indonesia slams the brakes on multi-billion dollar Chinese high-speed rail collaboration thanks to tardy homework

Indonesia slams the brakes on multi-billion dollar Chinese high-speed rail collaboration thanks to tardy homework

A high-profile joint Chinese/Indonesian high-speed railway project in Indonesia has been delayed due to insufficient paperwork, announced the country’s Transport Minister on Wednesday.

Minister Ignasius Jonan revealed at a hearing of the House of Representatives that the transport ministry has been unable to issue permits for the railway project on account of development group PT Kereta Cepat Indonesia China (KCIC) failing to submit several documents, according to the Jakarta Post.

Jonas pronounced that the ministry was “not done with the evaluation,” claiming a need for strictness as the project, a collaboration between Chinese company China Railway International and four Indonesian state-run firms, is the first of its kind.

Of 11 documents required for submission, KCIC reportedly is yet to hand over those pertaining to development design, technical illustrations, field data and specifications; as such, it’s been granted a permit for building the planned railway’s mere first 5 kilometres.

The postponement comes just a little under a week after the official opening ceremony for the project, which was presided over by the likes of President Joko Widodo. No comment has emerged from Jakarta’s Chinese embassy.

As part of China’s “going out” campaign, pushed by Premier Li Keqiang, the line in Indonesia is supposed to be the mainland’s first overseas high-speed rail project.

Connecting Jakarta and Bandung, the 142.3-kilometre-long railway has an estimated cost of US$5.5 billion and is expected to start operating in 2019.

China was chosen for the project after outbidding Japan, with the China Development Bank covering 75% of loans.

This story is merely the latest in a series of disappointments on the part of Chinese developers, who are eager to secure as many global railway development contracts as possible, but continue to be impeded by various controversies, doubts, and downgrades.

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