* Police raid coal ports in East Kalimantan
* Almost 30 large ships waiting to load thermal coal
* Delays follow large-scale disruptions in February
(Adds detail, further comment from police spokesman and mining
By Fergus Jensen and Henning Gloystein
JAKARTA/SINGAPORE, March 22 Indonesia is
cracking down on corruption and widespread graft at some of its
top coal export hubs, disrupting shipments to destinations
Indonesia is the world's top exporter of thermal coal, still
the main feedstock for global power generation. Interruptions to
coal's output and shipment can impact seaborne prices of the
fuel as well as wholesale electricity markets.
The investigations that began on Friday are targeting port
operations along the large anchorage area off Samarinda in East
Kalimantan, officials said on Wednesday, delaying ships waiting
to load new supplies from the region's mines.
Police initially raided four port facilities, including the
Samudra Sejahtera Stevedores Cooperative (Komura) office, a
Transportation Ministry statement said, based on allegations of
"blackmail, corruption, money laundering, and thuggery".
"We are cracking down on patterns linked to illegal fees,"
Transportation Ministry spokesman J. A. Barata told Reuters.
Almost 30 large dry-bulk ships are waiting offshore
Samarinda to load coal, according to shipping data in Thomson
Reuters Eikon. The data shows that some of the ships have been
waiting to load coal since late February.
The office of the stevedores' cooperative did not answer
calls seeking comment.
EXTRA FEES TO LOAD COAL
East Kalimantan Police spokesman Ade Yaya Suryana told
Reuters that authorities were targeting stevedores that were
asking coal companies in the Mahakam area to pay extra fees to
One coal mining company had been asked by stevedores to pay
3 billion rupiah ($225,000) per month in illegal fees based on
tonnage, Suryana said, adding that such fees had been charged on
shipments since last year and that police estimated Komura had
amassed several hundred billion rupiah from the illegal charges.
Komura chairman Jaffar Abdul Gaffar told local media outlet
tempo.co that 6.1 billion rupiah confiscated by police in the
raid on the cooperative was for wages and not from illegal fees.
"I just took it out of the bank," Gaffar said, according to
Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said in the
ministry statement he had asked police "not to hesitate in
cracking down on all forms of illegal fees."
The crackdown follows coal shipment disruptions that
occurred last month, when authorities put up road blocks in
investigations that prevented workers from accessing ports.
Indonesian Coal Mining Association chairman Pandu Sjahrir
told Reuters that several coal producers had reported shipping
and logistics delays resulting from the investigations.
The police investigations are preventing many ports from
arranging staff for loading and unloading coal, said one coal
trader on the condition of anonymity, as he was not authorised
to talk to the press.
"It's very chaotic, delays in loading are common anyway, so
these (investigations) have further disrupted coal operations,"
East Kalimantan Transportation Agency, which oversees port
authorities and marine transportation, declined to comment on
Coal miners in the region include Banpu unit Indo
Tambangraya Megah (ITM), and Bayan Resources
The two mining companies could not be reached for comment.
($1 = 13,328 rupiah)
(Reporting by Fergus Jensen and Agustinus Beo Da Costa in
JAKARTA, and Henning Gloystein in SINGAPORE; Editing by Tom