The recent introduction of a regular ferry service directly connecting the East Java Port of Ketapang (Banyuwangi) with Lembar in Lombok has significantly reduced demand on the Pandang Bai (East Bali) – Lembar (Lombok) ferry route across the Bali Straits.
The new, innovative ferry service now allows goods trucks to skip the long overland trip in Bali between two separate ferry crossings across the Bali Straits and Lombok Straits.
As reported by RadarBali.com, the impact on ferry traffic has been so significant that as many as 13 ferry operators on the Padangbai – Lembar crossing have ceased operations. Those operators have sailed their RoRo Ferries to more lucrative routes elsewhere in Indonesia rather than continue to suffer losses sailing between Bali and Lombok.
Anang Heru, The chairman of the Association of River, Lake and Crossing Transportation Entrepreneurs (Gapasdap), speaking from the Port of Padangbai, has confirmed the business migration of longstanding ferry operators away from the Lombok Strait.
Anang lamented that the Padangbai-Lembar crossing over the Lombok Straits was no longer a productive route due to opening a new ferry service connecting Ketapang in East Java to Lembar in Lombok. Many logistic transport companies are using the new ferry service that completely bypasses traveling overland in Bali, saving time and energy costs.
While the fare traveling by ferry from Ketapang to Lembar is higher than the combined ferry fares for Ketapang-Gilimanuk and Padangbai-Lembar, the new service saves fuel and vehicle maintenance costs and provides for a safer trip.
Most of the 13 ships that have left the Padangbai-Lembar route have moved to Palembang in South Sumatra, seen to be a more lucrative business proposition.