Indonesia’s booming e-commerce sales have attracted investment from international logistics players.

Like other Asia Pacific countries it experienced “unprecedented” e-commerce growth last year when Covid hit, with online sales surging 37% to $25bn, according to GlobalData.

To cater for the rising demand, Singapore-based e-commerce specialist J&T Express announced this week it had launched a dedicated freighter operation in Indonesia, adding to its charter flight network.

The company’s 15-ton capacity B737-300 operates from Budiarto Airport, near Jakarta, to Medan, Batam and Tanjung Pinang.

J&T said: “All cities and islands in Indonesia, excluding Java, will be able to enjoy next-day delivery with the new all-cargo aircraft, providing an improved delivery experience.”

Andrew Sim, CEO of J&T Express Singapore, added: “This addition to our fleet will help our e-commerce players meet the needs of consumers efficiently.”

In February, Mr Sim predicted that more of South-east Asia’s cross-border e-commerce would shift to sea freight, given the current high airfreight rates and the new wave of online demand for bulkier items like office equipment and furniture.

Taiwanese 3PL Dimerco has also been busy preparing for extra container volumes, becoming one of the first operators of Indonesia’s new bonded logistics centres for e-commerce.

Known locally as PLBs, the concept was launched in 2016 to help reduce storage costs for importers and exporters and allow goods to be re-exported up to three years later without paying tax.

Dimerco said yesterday it had commenced operations at Indonesia’s “first and only” e-commerce PLB, in Bekasi city, adjacent to Jakarta, which has a throughput of over 150,000 units a day and is operated by Dimerco’s local subsidiary, Uniair Cargo.

“The 10,000sq metre bonded warehouse will provide an integrated, multimodal transport service to customers and deliver significant benefits, including faster e-commerce fulfilment and reduced costs,” the 3PL noted.

Domestic deliveries have a lead time of one-to-three days, Dimerco added, compared with the normal 14 days, and shipments achieve faster customs clearance because there is no requirement to pay duty and tax in advance – a “major cash-flow advantage for customers”.

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