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 Kamar Nor Aini Bt Kamarul Zaman
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 The Jakarta Post
 Govt to start verifying oil palm commodity shipments

23/04/2008 (The Jakarta Post) - The Trade Ministry will start verifying all domestic shipments of oil palm commodities on April 24, Ardiansyah Parman, the director general of domestic trade, said Tuesday.

The main purpose of the verifications is to curb the smuggling of oil palm commodities, he said, and the verification will only affect domestic shipments, not export shipments.

The verifications are being implemented as part of a regulation recently issued by the Trade Ministry on inter-island shipments of oil palm commodities and derivatives.

According to the regulation, more than 15 oil palm commodities and derivatives will be verified, including oil palm fresh fruits, oil palm kernels, crude palm oil, refined bleached deodorized palm oil, crude palm olein and any biodiesel products made from palm oil.

The financing for the verifications will come straight from the state budget, Ardiansyah said, so oil palm commodity producers will not be burdened by additional costs.

Director of market management and distribution at the Trade Ministry, Gunaryo, said the government was pursuing other objectives besides the prevention of smuggling.

"The government hopes the verifications will also be effective in monitoring the distribution of the commodities in all of Indonesia's regions. If it works, then it will provide the government with substantial data for determining its policy toward stabilizing domestic prices of oil palm commodities," he said.

He said the verifications would also help the government assure the sustainability of the domestic supply of cooking oil.

In implementing the regulation, the Trade Ministry has chosen state-owned surveyor company PT Sucofindo to conduct the verifications at all ports within Indonesia's territory.

The ministry will also coordinate with the directorate general of sea traffic at the Transportation Ministry due to a lack of resources.

Director of PT Sucofindo M. Heru Riza said the surveyor would verify the type and the amount of commodities before the ships left the ports and before the cargoes were unloaded.

To minimize the possibility of smuggling, Heru said the tolerated maximum for volume disparities -- between the first and the second verifications -- was 1 percent for liquid products and 5 percent if the products were kernels or fresh fruits.

"To request a verification, manufacturers or commodity owners need to send a notification to the surveyor at least two days before their ship's departure. They can do it by letter or email," he said.

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