If the gap fits …

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Property chiefs warn Bank over stock market volatility

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Coronavirus clouds Apple’s timeline for new iPhones

first_img“Are Apple’s engineers with the Foxconn engineers? If they are, they’re probably making progress. But if they’re not, if they’re quarantined, that could be bad.”While Apple uses other contract manufacturers such as Wistron Corp to make some iPhones, Taiwan’s Foxconn tends to handle the introduction of new models because its capabilities are the most advanced, supply chain experts said.Foxconn, the world’s largest contract electronics maker, delayed reopening key iPhone factories in Shenzhen and Zhengzhou after the Lunar New Year holiday but hopes to resume half of its Chinese production by the end of February.Senior Foxconn officials who have been working remotely from Taipei since the holiday have not yet returned to China on a large scale, a person with knowledge of the matter told Reuters, speaking of company officials generally. Travel restrictions to China because of the coronavirus have come just as Apple Inc’s engineers usually jet off to Asia to perfect the production of this fall’s new iPhones, former employees and supply chain experts told Reuters.High-volume manufacturing is not scheduled until summer, but the first months of the year are when Apple irons out assembly processes with partners such as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co’s Foxconn, two former Apple employees said.“They probably have one assembly line they’re trying things out on,” said one of the former employees who asked not to be named discussing production matters. Apple declined to comment. Foxconn Technology Group said in an emailed statement on Tuesday that the company is following all legally required health and safety practices at its factories to protect employee welfare.“Consistent with this, we are taking a cautious approach in the implementation of our post-holiday production schedules in each of our facilities in China,” the company said.Last week, Apple warned investors it was unlikely to meet revenue targets for the first three months of 2020 and that global iPhone supplies would be limited as manufacturing sites in China were not ramping up production as quickly as expected.Foxconn said this month that the coronavirus outbreak would lower its revenue this year.Earlier this month, United Airlines, which has disclosed that Apple is a major customer, said it was cancelling all fights to China until late April. Apple, meanwhile, said on Jan. 28 that it was restricting employee to travel to China to “business-critical” situations.Medical workers in protective suits check a CT (computed tomography) scan image of a patient at a community health service center, which has an isolated section to receive patients with mild symptoms caused by the novel coronavirus and suspected patients of the virus, in Qingshan district of Wuhan, Hubei province, China February 8, 2020. (REUTERS/China Daily)Collaboration criticalFor new iPhone models, the transition from prototype to the assembly of millions of units starts in earnest when the Lunar New Year holiday in China ends in late January and early February, people familiar with the process said.At that point, Apple has tested numerous prototypes and is in the late stages of what is called engineering validation, in which Foxconn workers assemble small numbers of devices while engineers from both firms troubleshoot.If delays occur at this stage it would eat into the time Apple needs to finalize orders for chips and other parts, almost all of which are custom-made for the iPhone.Because of the huge volumes needed, “they can’t wait to make component selections”, said Ron Keith, founder of Supply Chain Resources Group, which works with electronics makers such as Alphabet Inc’s Nest.In March and April, Apple engineers typically work with Foxconn counterparts to set up new assembly lines and do trial runs, before making final adjustments in April and May. The aim is to have production lines up and running in June so others can be added progressively to ramp up output.“It’s very complicated. There are so many variables in the environment, including small factors such as air pollution,” one of the people familiar with the process said.Anna-Katrina Shedletsky, a former Apple engineer and founder of Instrumental, a startup focused on factory automation based in Mountain View, California, said on-the-ground engineering collaboration was critical for new products.“You can fly those engineers somewhere else but there’s knowledge about how you make a product in that environment. It’s not that it can’t be taught but it’s a hard thing to move,” she said.While supply chain experts and industry insiders say Apple still has time to keep its annual iPhone schedule on track, travel restrictions have left it in a tough spot.“There is no face-to-face work being done,” an executive at a semiconductor firm that supplies smartphone companies and works with teams in China said, speaking generally about phone production cycles.“And the word is, that’s probably not going to change for another month at best. You’re really talking about two lost months, which in the consumer electronics cycle is huge.”Topics :last_img read more

Indonesia’s car sales to bounce back in March, manufacturers contend

first_imgPresident Joko “Jokowi” Widodo announced on Monday the country’s first confirmed COVID-19 cases, prompting efforts by the government and financial authorities to cushion the economy from any possible hit.Read also: Auto industry poised to recover after sales hit brakes in 2019Currently, the government is preparing a stimulus package to ease export and import regulations as supply chains are expected to start getting hit by the virus spread. The stimulus will be the second of its kind after a Rp 10.3 trillion (US$725 million) package announced earlier for boosting private consumption and the tourism sector.Industry Minister Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita said he was confident that the local industry had enough automotive parts despite the outbreak that disrupted factories’ activities in various countries, mainly in China.“According to a Gaikindo members’ report, their supply chains face no problems so far and the industry has enough stockpiles to continue production for the next three to four months,” he said.The Asian Development Bank (ADB) president Masatsugu Asakawa said in Jakarta on Wednesday that he believed Indonesia was less likely to experience a strong impact from the global outbreak than other countries in the region, such as Japan or Thailand.“Indonesia isn’t deeply integrated into the global supply chain, so it is still considerably fortunate compared to other countries,” Asakawa said, adding that the Indonesian economy which was primarily driven by domestic activity was at an advantage during the global health emergency.The country’s economy grew by 4.97 percent in last year’s fourth quarter, the slowest rate in three years, as investment and exports cooled. Following the outbreak, the government expects growth to slow to 4.7 percent in this year’s first three months.Read also: COVID-19 impact far more complex than 2008 crisis: Sri MulyaniDespite these challenges, Mitshubishi Fuso truck distributing company PT Krama Yudha Tiga Berlian Motors (KTB) maintained its positive outlook for 2020.“We project truck sales for the domestic market will increase by 7 percent,” the company’s marketing director Duljatmono said, adding that the company aimed to sell 46,900 trucks and acquire 46 percent of the market share for trucks in 2020. (mpr) Indonesia’s automotive manufacturers have expressed optimism that national car sales will soon bottom out and show a rebound as early as March despite a further drop in January and risks posed by the COVID-19 outbreak.The country’s car sales stood at 1.03 million units last year, a 10.8 percent drop compared to a year before, according to data from the Association of Indonesian Automotive Manufacturers (Gaikindo). The association blamed sluggish sales on political uncertainties due to the 2019 general elections that hold people off from buying big-ticket items, such as cars.Sales further dropped in January amid heavy flooding that struck several regions in the country, especially Jakarta and a novel coronavirus outbreak but the association maintained its target of selling 1.05 million cars this year. Topics :center_img Read also: Astra International profits hit by lower car sales, commodity prices“While the COVID-19 spread has adversely affected sales, the absence of a political agenda and a subsiding trade war has supported the automotive industry,” Gaikindo chairman Yohannes Nangoi said at the Gaikindo Indonesia International Commercial Vehicle Expo (GIICOMVEC) 2020 opening ceremony in Jakarta on Thursday.“I expect car sales in February to remain flat compared to January. Hopefully, they will recover in March,” he added.The pneumonia-like illness has infected almost 100,000 people in around 85 nations and killed more than 3,300 worldwide, disrupting economic activities in countries around the globe.last_img read more

Bolsonaro triggers backlash for downplaying coronavirus

first_imgHe said such measures risked wrecking the Brazilian economy, Latin America’s largest.His stance, which flies in the face of World Health Organization recommendations, drew a strongly worded letter of condemnation from a group of eight medical professional associations.They called Bolsonaro an “enemy of the people’s health” whose response to the crisis was “incoherent and criminal.””He denies the body of scientific evidence guiding the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide, disdaining the serious and dedicated work by a national and global network of researchers and health technology professionals,” it said. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro drew blistering criticism from the medical community and opponents Wednesday for downplaying the coronavirus pandemic, but renewed his attacks on containment measures to slow its spread.The far-right leader has repeatedly lashed out at restrictive measures to fight the virus, which he has called a “little flu” that caused an “overblown” reaction.He triggered new outrage among critics with a national address Tuesday night condemning “scorched-earth” containment measures by local authorities, such as closing businesses and confining people in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s biggest cities. Politicians of various stripes also attacked Bolsonaro, including center-right Senate president Davi Alcolumbre, who said Brazil “needs a serious, responsible leader who cares about the people’s lives and health.”Undeterred, Bolsonaro doubled down.”Companies aren’t producing anything. They can’t pay their employees… We are facing chaos,” he told journalists outside the presidential residence in Brasilia.”We could end up with problems like people looting supermarkets… What do we need to do? Get people back to work. Protect the elderly, protect people with health problems, but that’s it.”Bolsonaro, a former army captain who has been criticized for praising Brazil’s brutal military dictatorship (1964-1985), also warned the fallout of the coronavirus crisis could put democracy at risk.”What if this derails the ‘democratic norm’ you all defend so staunchly?” he asked, adding: “It wouldn’t come from me, don’t worry.”He compared his approach to the pandemic to that of US President Donald Trump, whom he admires.”We’re following a similar line,” he said.center_img Topics :last_img read more

US crude dips below $20, lowest since 2002, as lockdowns hit demand

first_imgBesides demand destruction, oil markets have also been slammed by the Saudi Arabia-Russia price war that is flooding markets with extra supply.An official from Saudi Arabia’s energy ministry said on Friday the kingdom was not in talks with Russia to balance oil markets despite rising pressure from Washington to stop the rout that has cut prices by more than 60 percent this year.With world demand now forecast to plunge 15 million or 20 million barrels per day, a 20 percent drop from last year, analysts say massive production cuts will be needed beyond just the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.“OPEC, Saudi Arabia and Russia could mend their differences, but there’s not that much OPEC could do …. The demand shock from COVID-19 is just too big,” said Lachlan Shaw, National Australia Bank’s head of commodities research.The contango spread between May and November Brent crude futures reached its widest ever at $13.45 a barrel, while the six-month spread for US crude broadened to minus $12.85 a barrel, the widest discount since February 2009.Prompt prices are lower than those in future months in a contango market, encouraging traders to store oil for future sales.Asian shares also slipped on Monday despite the all-out efforts of central banks to bolster markets with rate cuts and asset-buying campaigns.China’s central bank unexpectedly cut the rate on reverse repurchase agreements by 20 basis points on Monday, the largest in nearly five years, as authorities ramped up steps to relieve pressure on an economy ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.Topics : Oil prices fell sharply on Monday, with US crude briefly dropping below US$20 and Brent hitting its lowest level in 18 years, on heightened fears that the global coronavirus shutdown could last months and demand for fuel could decline further.Brent crude, the international benchmark for oil prices, was down $2.09, or 8.4 percent, at $22.84 by 0917 GMT, after earlier dropping to $22.58, the lowest since November 2002.US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude fell $1.11, or 5.2 percent, to $20.40. Earlier in the session, WTI fell as low as $19.92. The price of oil is now so low that it is becoming unprofitable for many oil firms to remain active, analysts said, and higher cost producers will have no choice but to shut production, especially since storage capacities are almost full.“Global oil demand is evaporating on the back of COVID-19-related travel restrictions and social distancing measures,” said UBS oil analyst Giovanni Staunovo.“In the near term, oil prices may need to trade lower into the cash cost curve to trigger production shut-ins to start to prevent tank tops to be reached,” he added.Rystad Energy’s head of oil markets, Bjornar Tonhaugen said: “The oil market supply chains are broken due to the unbelievably large losses in oil demand, forcing all available alternatives of supply chain adjustments to take place during April and May,” including cutting refineries runs and increasing storage.last_img read more

US Senate panel head steps aside amid virus insider-trading probe

first_imgOutraged investorsAn FBI investigation of a senior senator is rare and would have been approved at the highest levels of the Justice Department, legal specialists say.Burr is respected for keeping the Intelligence Committee independent as it investigated Russian meddling into the 2016 election and possible collusion by President Donald Trump’s campaign.He has also refused to rubber-stamp Trump’s controversial nominees to important intelligence community positions, amid worries over politicization by the White House.But his stock sales sparked outrage as millions of investors saw their shares plummet after the pandemic forced a shutdown of much of the global economy.It also drew attention to at least two other senators who made substantial investment shifts on the eve of the COVID-19 scare, Democrat Dianne Feinstein and Republican Kelly Loeffler.Feinstein, a senior member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has said her investments are held in a blind trust and that stock sales by her husband, a prominent California financier, were unrelated to the pandemic.Loeffler, the wealthiest member of Congress, is married to Jeffrey Sprecher, chairman and main owner of the New York Stock Exchange through his company Intercontinental Exchange. The couple reportedly sold as much as $3.1 million in shares between late January and February 14.While the FBI has investigated Feinstein’s transactions, it is not known if they are also probing Loeffler, who has denied impropriety. Topics : Dumped stocks, warned donors One of the most respected Republican senators, the North Carolina lawmaker drew attention after reports showed he had dumped most of his stocks and warned donors of the looming COVID-19 pandemic in February.At the time President Donald Trump was playing down the danger to the public.Burr, who receives almost daily briefings from the US intelligence community on threats to the country, wrote in a February 7 opinion piece published on the Fox News website that the US government was “better prepared than ever” for the COVID-19 virus, assuring Americans they were well-protected.But on February 13 the senator and his wife suddenly sold off between $628,000 and $1.7 million in stocks, the ProPublica media group revealed in March, citing financial filings.On the same day, Burr’s brother-in-law sold as much as $280,000 worth of shares, ProPublica also reported.Since then stock markets have plunged as the disease swept the world. Some 1.4 million Americans have been confirmed infected and over 85,000 died, more than any other country.Burr, who receives much of the same intelligence as the White House, clearly had a different private view of the threat than the government’s public stance.Two weeks after Burr’s share sales, Trump assured the public that the 15 US coronavirus cases reported at that time could be the peak.The same day Burr told a private gathering of wealthy donors that coronavirus was a threat akin the 1918 Spanish Flu, which killed tens of millions.”There’s one thing that I can tell you about this: It is much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history,” he said. “I believe this step is necessary to allow the committee to continue its essential work free of external distractions.”Burr is under investigation over whether he used his access to highly classified intelligence to sell stocks in February — before the coronavirus pandemic struck the US, and while Americans were being told the virus’s threat was low.The Los Angeles Times said federal agents wielding a warrant seized his cellphone late Wednesday at his Washington home, after having first accessed Burr’s personal files on his iCloud account. Republican Senator Richard Burr, chairman of the powerful US Senate Intelligence Committee, stepped down Thursday after the FBI seized his cellphone in a probe of alleged insider stock trading tied to the coronavirus pandemic.Burr said he informed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that he would give up the chairmanship temporarily while the FBI investigation is ongoing.”The work the Intelligence Committee and its members do is too important to risk hindering in any way,” Burr said in a statement.last_img read more

West Java looks to ease curbs despite tallying dozens of new cases

first_img“The majority of cases […] occurred in Greater Jakarta.”The province is home to around 49 million people, some 33 percent of whom can be found in Jakarta’s satellite cities, where people who work in the capital city commonly reside.Data from the administration shows that cases in Jakarta’s satellites accounted for at least 60 percent of the province’s total cases as of Friday, while West Java’s capital Bandung city recorded 271 cases and 31 fatalities, the highest number of deaths in the province.Tight corridors: Medical workers in protective gear escort a man who tested positive for COVID-19 to a hospital in Tasikmalaya, West Java, on May 15. (Kompas.com/Irwan Nugraha) West Java, being a close neighbor of Jakarta, has been among the provinces hardest hit by COVID-19, but it is looking into easing curbs in “low-risk” areas after claiming that large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) have yielded desirable results.The province recorded 40 new cases on Friday, bringing the total confirmed cases to 2,002 with 125 fatalities and 432 recoveries, according to the central government’s tally. This has led the province to become the third hardest-hit province after Jakarta and East Java.”I believe the pandemic is related to density, it’s a density disease. The more dense the area is, the more cases are likely to be found,” West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil said during a recent online discussion with foreign ambassadors. The PSBB have been in place in West Java since May 6, and they are expected to last until May 29, although Bogor, Depok and Bekasi – satellite regions of Jakarta – put curbs in place much earlier on April 15. Greater Bandung also first imposed the PSBB on April 22.It has identified five infection clusters so far: a seminar of the National Police’s Officer Candidate School in Sukabumi; the Bethel Church of Indonesia (GBI) in Lembang; an anti-usury seminar in Bogor; a religious seminar held by the Protestant Churches of Western Indonesia (GPIB) in Bogor; and a West Java youth entrepreneurs forum in Karawang.Read also: National COVID-19 task force chief urges public to obey PSBB to pave way for ‘new normal’Recently, local health authorities said they were still tracing contacts from the first two clusters and ramping up efforts to scale up their polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing capacity.The province had tested some 10,791 people so far, a very low number that made it difficult to effectively capture the scale of the outbreak and decide on the necessary intervention measures, said epidemiologist Panji Hadisoemarto from Padjadjaran University in Bandung.This also applies to measuring the province’s effective reproduction number (Re), which Governor Ridwan revealed to be 1.04 as of May 15. The effective reproduction number refers to the number of secondary cases per infectious case in a population, with a number below 1 indicating the epidemic is under control and in decline.“There must be adequate contact tracing, testing […] and accurate and timely reporting [of new cases],” Panji said.Ridwan said during a press briefing on Wednesday that the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients had decreased from 430 patients in April to 270 patients following the introduction of the PSBB. Isolation wards were only at 33 percent of capacity, he said.Love exists here: A couple on a motorcycle drive past a makeshift gate in a residential area in Citeureup, Bogor, West Java, on May 7. The gate displays a banner that reads “lovedown”, as opposed to “lockdown”. (JP/PJ Leo)As he claimed the curve of transmission was flattening, Ridwan also announced that the region’s PSBB measures would continue “proportionately” based on each region’s transmission risk level, which would be reviewed using several indicators every two weeks. The PSBB status would also be implemented at the subdistrict or village levels.”Theoretically this is a good policy, but it’ll be difficult to translate into practice at the village level. There must be clear technical guidelines [for enforcement],” Panji said.“They should also anticipate […] the porousness between regions; the people of Bandung regency may work in Bandung city, for example.”The province’s red zones, or those at severe risk, comprise Bekasi regency, Bekasi municipality and Cimahi municipality, meaning that they would have to continue the PSBB, with economic activities operating only at 30 percent of their normal levels.Blue zones, which comprise West Bandung regency, Pangandaran regency, Sumedang regency, Garut regency and Sukabumi municipality, are at moderate risk and would be allowed to reopen all public and commercial facilities while ensuring that there are no crowds.This is despite earlier estimates that predicted Garut would see the highest number of homebound travelers at 177,155 people. The administration predicted that some 720,000 people would insist on going on mudik (exodus) this year ahead of the Idul Fitri holiday.Read also: Some regional leaders to allow mass Idul Fitri prayers despite calls to worship at homeThe remaining regions, meanwhile, are at moderate to severe risk in the yellow zones, which allow for an increase in economic activity to around 60 percent of normal levels, while maintaining physical distancing.No city or regency is a black zone, which indicates critical risk and requires a total lockdown, nor are any considered green zones, which are low-risk areas where people are allowed to gather.However, detailed mapping at the lower levels show that 667 subdistricts and villages are deemed black zones, and most are in Jakarta’s satellite cities and Greater Bandung.Kusnanto Saidi, the director of the Dr. Chasbullah Abdulmadjid COVID-19 referral hospital in Bekasi city, said the hospital had witnessed a decline in the number of patients, although medical professionals remained wary of possible undetected or asymptomatic cases.”Medical workers are wary about a possible second wave [of transmissions]. Their energy has been drained in the past three months, God forbid that there’ll be [a second wave] after Idul Fitri,” he said.Topics :last_img read more

Business groups embrace ‘new normal’. Epidemiologists skeptical

first_imgBusiness groups have welcomed the Health Ministry’s new workplace health guidelines, but epidemiologists have raised doubts.Agung Pambudi, the Executive Director of the Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo) said the guidelines, which were issued on Saturday and aim to usher in a so-called “new normal”, could help mitigate the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”It’s the best way to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic while still maintaining work productivity,” Agung said as quoted by kompas.com. Tri Yunis Miko Wahyono, an epidemiologist from the University of Indonesia, Depok, criticized the Health Ministry’s guidelines for not having detailed criteria for the implementation of policies.”The government needs to make clear and strict criteria. It would be a mistake to implement the guidelines in Jakarta or any other area that is still seeing a lot of new cases,” he said.A ministerial decree issued on Saturday by Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto outlined how offices and factories should operate during and after large-scale social restrictions (PSBB). “It’s impossible to impose restrictions on workplaces forever. We should keep the wheels of our economy turning,” Terawan said in a statement on the Health Ministry’s official website. “That’s why workplaces must prepare to adapt to changes amid the COVID-19 situation, also known as the new normal.” The ministerial decree requires the management of companies to create task forces to curb the spread of the disease. The policies also set requirements for businesses to be allowed to reopen. These include ensuring sufficient hand washing facilities, checking employees’ temperatures, requiring employees to wear masks, keeping one meter of distance between employees at work, minimizing physical interaction with customers and preventing the formation of crowds.Companies have also been advised to set aside a time for employees to exercise together — while adhering to physical distancing guidelines — before work starts.Read also: Indonesia says only regions with zero, declining cases can brace for ‘new normal’The decree advises workplaces to do away with late-night shifts or to only assign such shifts to workers under the age of 50.Yunis said it would be ill-advised to implement the guidelines in areas with high transmission rates, especially the capital.”Jakarta should relax [restrictions] only if it sees zero new cases for two weeks and those who are infected are well-isolated,” Yunis said.Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan has announced that the “new normal” date is not set in stone. Jakarta’s PSBB is set to end on June 4, but could be extended.”If the transmission rate is declining, the number of new cases is dropping and the virus reproduction level drops to below 1, [we can ease restrictions],” Anies said.”However, if the number of new cases is rising because Jakartans are going out without masks on or forgetting to wash their hands frequently, there’s a possibility that PSBB will be extended.”The basic reproduction number, also known as R0, refers to the number of people, on average, a single infected person will directly infect in a population.Yunis said using R0 alone as a measure of whether to relax PSBB was not quite correct.”If R0 is one, but the new cases are still at 100 per day, it will be dangerous [to ease restrictions]. Jakarta is still seeing a lot of new cases, so please don’t use an incorrect indicator,” Yunis said.Jakarta, the country’s COVID-19 epicenter, reported 137 new cases on Wednesday, bringing the total number of infected residents in the capital city to 6,826 people out of the national 23,851. (nal)Topics :last_img read more

Transportation companies turn to alternative services for income

first_imgThe number of MRT Jakarta passengers dropped dramatically during the implementation of PSBB measures between April and June. The operator served an average of 90,000 to 100,000 passengers daily between January and mid-March, but the number dropped to 5,000 in April and 2,000 in May.Since the city began easing restrictions on June 8, the number of passengers has slowly risen to 13,000 a day.Similarly, national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia has scrambled to adapt to the changing business landscape by launching KirimAja – an app-based courier service – in collaboration with PT Aerojasa Cargo.Garuda Indonesia president director Irfan Setiaputra said the new service was launched to stem the losses suffered by the airline in recent months due to mobility restrictions while still staying true to the company’s core mission to connect people across the archipelago.“It’s crucial that we continue to explore new opportunities amid the present challenges,” he said during the same event.Read also: Garuda may increase fares as capacity cap hits revenue“We expect [KirimAja] to facilitate people in sending packages to one another as a new form of intimacy during the pandemic.”Furthermore, he said, the company planned to launch an interregional food delivery service dubbed PesanAja to bolster its presence during these unprecedented times.The government has drafted a US$1 billion financial bailout for the flag carrier to help it prevent a debt default after the coronavirus crisis forced the airline to ground most of its planes.Meanwhile, publicly listed taxi company PT Blue Bird has trained its employees to deliver items such as documents and household products as part of the brand-new BirdKirim initiative.“Our drivers have been trained to deliver items to homes and offices while minimizing [physical interaction],” Blue Bird CEO Noni Purnomo said, adding that the alternative service reflected the company’s agility in navigating the crisis.The transportation industry has been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin).Read also: Let’s have a safe rideThe stay-at-home physical-distancing policy, coupled with the closure of tourist destinations and shopping centers, has seen earnings in the sector plummet.To ensure the sector’s survival ahead of the so-called new normal, Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said the government had been formulating a plan to “readjust” public transportation fees, so that they would be proportionate to the recent dip in occupancy rate.“The problem is that, if the occupancy continues to decrease, then the income of the entire sector will also continue to drop. It’s a fact that must be kept in mind,” Budi said during the discussion.The ministry recently revoked a rule capping the passenger load factor of modes of public transportation and private vehicles at 50 percent of capacity, as the country enters a transition period of relaxed restrictions. The rule had been introduced to prevent the spread of COVID-19.Topics : The alternative services offered by MRT Jakarta included delivery services and online training programs aimed at start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), William said.Furthermore, he said, the company would use empty spaces at MRT stations for coworking spaces equipped with digital communication facilities.Read also: MRT Jakarta drafts new business model amid falling ridership“It’s all about building public confidence and trust,” he added. Several major transportation companies have devised alternative services that complement their core business models in a bid to adjust to changing customer behavior and needs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.In response to decreasing ridership in recent months due to large-scale social restrictions (PSBB), city-owned public transportation company PT MRT Jakarta has announced a range of business initiatives that are expected to augment its revenue during the health emergency.“We can no longer rely on our conventional mobility services. The ongoing pandemic has forced us to innovate beyond ridership, beyond physical mobility and beyond transportation networks,” MRT Jakarta president director William Sabandar said during an online discussion held by Binus University on Tuesday.last_img read more