Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Irony between Predecessors and Successors : PELNI (part 1)

The Koninklijke Paketvaart Maatschappij (KPM) office building in Kota Lama, Semarang around 1930. And an advertising showing the services provided by KPM.
(source: Troopenmuseum and Maritiem Museum Rotterdam)
PELNI (Pelayaran Nasional Indonesia) is the national shipping company of Indonesia. According to the data on Wikipedia, Currently Pelni operates twenty-six ships; twenty-three of these are passenger ships that serve a variety of routes within the archipelago and connects all the main islands of Indonesia from Sumatra to Papua, mostly on a bi-weekly or monthly schedule. PELNI actually are nationalized company from KPM  who once get a reputation as the second largest shipping company in the world, from the early 20th century until the World War II.  For me, its ridiculous to realized that PELNI are one’s of the BUMN (eng: state-owned company) that always suffering for losses. According to Tempo daily, until May 2012, the losses recorded as big as 2 Bilion rupiahs! For the archipelago country, where the sea transportation are so importants, both for logistic distribution and mass transportation, this fact was quiest shocked. Are the government are failed to compete with the private company? Eventhough the government got a legacy from a company which ever become the 2nd largest in the world, which its also supported by up-to-date facility and management?    

The current condition of KPM office, now used by PELNI,
taken on 2012
Talking about KPM itself, KPM was established on 4th September 1888 in Amsterdam by Rotterdamsche Lloyd (RL) and Stoomvaart Maatschappij Nederland (SMN). KPM operated its vessel firstly on January 1, 1891. The company mainly focuses on regular scheduled routes for passenger and cargo cargo between islands in the East Indies and then more popular with the term as inter-island shipping post. 

Starting from 1906 the company began to expand its business with a new routes from the East Indies archipelago to the other countries with various subsidiaries such as in 1908, its opened a new routed named Java-Australie Lijn (JAL) serving across Java-Australia, followed in 1910 with a Java-Siam Lijn (JSL) serving across Java and Thailand, and the last in 1915 Deli Straits-China Lijn (DSCL) serving from accros Deli and Mainland of China.

The main hall inside the KPM office building in Semarang,
now functioned as the ticket booth, badminton courts and
motorbikes parking area.
After the Japanese occupation, the company was suffering from losses, due to many ships and infrastructure were looted by Japanese. Then in 1947 voyage overseas operations of KPM working with separate business under the name Java-China-Japan Lijn (JCJL) or across Java-China-Japan and on January 1, 1948 as a new company named, Koninklijke Java-China-Paketvaart Lijnen (KJCPL), a post-World War II efforts to revitalize the company.

The worsening relations between Indonesia and Netherlands following the West Guinea crisis, also affected the company. Its widely heard to the expulsion of Dutch descendant on Indonesia, also nationalization of Dutch Company. then On December 6, 1957, the KPM  was taken over by Indonesia government and become BUMN . Many of the small fleet of ships was subsequently sold and the employees were forced to laid off. Then now we recognize our PELNI with its problem surrounded it.  For the company which inherited the 2nd largest shipping company, PELNI should be the leaders in this shipping thingy. But yap, just like others nationalization product, its never as good as its predecessors, well I mean not yet, hopefully someday, it will be realized.
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