A bridge to connect Batam and Bintan?

Plans to revive the construction of a bridge to connect Batam and Bintan has been revived, according to the Governor of Riau Islands, also commonly known as Kepri. The plans were initially revealed in 2005 and there was a South Korean firm that conducted a feasibility study in the province in 2012. However, the project did not take flight, and there were several attempts by the local government to revive the plan ever since.

In this article, we would cover all the details that are related to the construction attempt between the islands of Batam and Bintan, part of the Riau Islands province in Indonesia.

Where is Batam and Bintan?

The city of Batam and resort of Bintan are two separate islands in the province of Riau Islands in Indonesia. What is the interesting feature of Riau islands is that it is extremely close to the borders of Malaysia and Singapore, where it only takes a ferry ride to reach the other two countries.

The Geographic location of Batam and Bintan makes it a clear choice of setting up a Free Trade Zone there

As such, the islands of Batam and Bintan are extremely popular among visitors coming from Singapore and Malaysia as well, with some firms setting up businesses in Riau islands due to the more affordable costs. Batam currently has a population of 1.2 million people, while the resort island of Bintan has about 400,000 people.

Batam and Bintan also have a Free Trade Zone being set up due to the geographic location, known as the BBK (Batam, Bintan, Karimun) Free Trade Zone.

The Revival of the bridge

The 7 kilometer bridge would be leading from Batam to Pulau Tanjung Sauh, Pulau Buau and finally linking to Bintan. The project is said to be part of the Indonesian government’s Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) scheme.

The scheme allows private firms to receive concession to construct a form of infrastructure, operate it for a few years before the ownership could be transferred to government.

Currently, the contenders for the tender are mainly from outside of Indonesia, such as Japan and China. Chinese state investment firm China Power Investment Corp is said to be one of the companies that have submitted proposals to the 7 kilometer bridge project.

In terms of costs, it is unclear as to how much it would be. But past estimates from 2009 put the value at around 350 million US dollars.

The project is part of President Jokowi’s promised an improvement in the country’s infrastructure, so as to increase the level of connectivity in the archipelago nation of over an estimated 17,000 islands.

Indonesia has an issue with connectivity between its islands, making the overall costs of logistics and transportation extremely expensive and time consuming.

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