The first three ships, Camara 1 Nusantara, Sabuk Nusantara 55 and Sabuk Nusantara 56, will transport hundreds of cattle from Nusa Tenggara to cities in Java, shortening a rough trip by ferry and truck which often sees the livestock arriving in Jakarta and other cities in a distressed condition and having lost weight due to anxiety.
An additional five ships, funded by the state budget and transportation ministry, will be inaugurated next year. The carriers will ply between Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, to Bima, West Nusa Tenggara, Tanjung Perak in Surabaya, West Java, Tanjung Emas in Semarang and back to Kupang through Bima.
"I hope the inauguration of these modified ships will ease both the shipping of livestock and transportation for people ... In the end, prices will decrease because the shipment costs are cheaper," Widodo said, adding that the cattle will no longer need to be delivered by truck over long distances.
The president also expressed hope that the livestock carriers will improve Indonesia's competitiveness against other livestock suppliers with more efficient means of transportation, such as Australia.
The recently launched so-called 'Sea Toll Road' programme is expected to lower transportation costs by about 80%.