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The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic also had an impact on the export-import activities of entrepreneurs. This happened because of the reduction in the frequency of air and sea transportation.

Deputy Chairman of the Indonesian Textile Association (API), Anne Patricia Sutanto, said that the increase in export costs is in sea and air transportation for CNF and CIF shipping provisions. "The amount is 100% -200% of the normal rate, as well as for imports," she told.

For normal prices, he could not confirm because it depends on the delivery destination. What is clear, she said, the increase in costs is not limited to shipments to America or Europe. "The price increase occurred to all shipments, not only to certain countries," she continued. In line with this, the shipping cost per container also jumps 100% -200%. According to him, this increase was due to the scarcity of containers due to the Covid-19 pandemic.


General Chairperson of API Jemmy Kartiwa Sastraatmaja added that with the PSBB easing, the demand actually started to increase. Because many needs are needed for recovery. Unfortunately, due to reduced frequency, the supply of containers has decreased. This is admittedly the main problem currently being faced.

He gave an example, shipments from Shanghai to Indonesia before the Covid-19 pandemic were US $ 500 - US $ 600 per container. However, since the reduction in the frequency of shipping, the cost has increased to US $ 3,000 per container. Then Indonesian shipments to America from US $ 1,800 jumped to US $ 6,000 per container. "So the margin has been eroded quite deeply, so we hope that transportation will start to increase its frequency," he added.

Business actors expect the government to provide incentives to get around the increase in shipping costs that arise due to the scarcity of containers. This step is considered important so that the positive performance of exports can be maintained.

"We hope there will be government subsidies, what form of course depends on the government and how much the budget is. For example, by bringing in empty containers [which are high costs due to unbalanced cargo], but the costs are borne by the government,” said Chairman of the Indonesian Export Companies Association (GPEI) Benny Soetrisno.

The scarcity of containers is due to a number of factors. Benny explained that transportation service providers tend to reduce the operation of large ships as an efficiency measure during a pandemic.

As a result, the use of smaller ships is more widely used. However, this condition has consequences for the reduced volume of transport and the increase in the cost of shipping empty containers is inevitable.

Freightos Baltix Index (FBX) data shows that the cost of transporting a 40-foot container or forty-foot equivalent (FEU) as of 13 December 2020 was recorded at US $ 2,782. This value increased significantly compared to the same week in 2019 which was at US $ 1,389 per FEU, an increase of 100.2 percent on an annual basis.

Meanwhile, according to Benny's records, the cost of shipping to the United States has increased by 2-3 times. If previously the shipping cost was only US $ 4,000 per FEU, now exporters have to pay up to US $ 10,000 per FEU.

"This is the first time there has been a scarcity like this. In previous years, shipments to North America and Europe were high ahead of Christmas and New Year, but there was no shortage, ”said Benny.

He said that there was not much business actors could do other than recalculate logistics costs. In order to ensure that the activity of the supply of raw materials imported from abroad is maintained, he said businesses prefer to use air transportation services.

"So the cost is higher, but for exports we continue to ship normally even though it may delay," said Benny.**