Exclusive, Nicolas Kesuma: Steel Is The Industry Of The Future

Almost all industrial sectors in the current era cannot be separated from the need for steel. Therefore, said Nicolas Kesuma, Chairman of the Indonesian Roll Former Association (ARFI), in the future the steel industry is one sector that will survive and this will be the future. All need steel in their respective sizes.


Steel is the mother of all industry (mother of industry). Because all industrial fields such as automotive, household furniture industry, electronics, use steel as a raw material. Properties also use steel, along with the reduced use of wood, asbestos and other building materials for the needs of buildings, housing, offices, warehousing and so on.

According to data released by the Indonesian Iron and Steel Industry Association (IISIA) as reported by Bisnis Indonesia, the demand for steel in Indonesia in 2022 will grow 7-8 percent to 16.3 million tons. Meanwhile, according to Nicolas Kesuma, light steel can produce 1 million tons per year. During times of pandemic production according to 30 to 50 percent.

"In the future, the need for steel is very large, our goods such as metal roofs, light steel frames and others are very much needed. Moreover, in the future the use of wood, asbestos will decrease. So steel is the future. Steel products will be used more and more," he said.

Compared to other materials, said Nicolas Kesuma, steel is more often used because it is strong, competitively priced, and is recyclable. In the roll former sector or mild steel, the same is true. More and more needs of the industrial sector, property that requires mild steel. It's no exaggeration if he predicts steel is the industry of the future.

However, the domestic steel industry is also facing challenges with the entry of imported steel from China and India. The COVID-19 pandemic that hit is also a problem in itself. What other problems are faced by mild steel producers, who are members of ARFI? This is the conversation with Iqbal Irsyad, Edy Suherli, Savic Rabos and Rifai from VOI with Nicolas Kesuma who visited him some time ago at the ARFI office, Sunter, North Jakarta. Here is the full excerpt.

The challenge faced by domestic mild steel producers is the entry of similar products from India and China. (Photo: Savic Rabos, DI: Raga /VOI)

During the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been going on for more than two years, how has it affected ARFI members?

For two years there have been pros and cons. There are ARFI members whose businesses are growing and some are the other way around. As is known, in 2020 the government built quite a number of health facilities to deal with COVID-19, at the COVID-19 Hospital on Galang Island, Batam, Adam Malik Hospital in Medan, in Jakarta, Pertamina Simpruk Hospital, and several other observation facilities in areas in Indonesia. This segment is very growing. Some of the parts used to build the hospital came from the roll former industry, there are sandwich panels, lightweight steel roof trusses, metal roof tiles, and others.

But on the other hand, this pandemic has hit other industrial sectors. There are those who will do the expansion so it is delayed. Entrepreneurs, governments and even the world are confused about this pandemic. At the beginning of the 2020 pandemic, it was not as easy to get a vaccine as it has been lately. So this side is frankly going downhill. Residential developers are also still hesitant to expand their business, they are still waiting for when this pandemic will end.

How to deal with a situation like this?

We must continue to follow government regulations that have been issued, namely referring to health protocols both at the factory and at the project site. So the campaign is how to run the correct process. The next step is to vaccinate together.

The first step is to inform all members so that they can vaccinate together. We cooperate with various parties, one of which is KADIN for vaccination. We call on all employees to participate in complete vaccinations. With complete proskes and vaccinations the company is allowed to operate. With production, it can slightly reduce the existing burden, because the whole world is affected by the pandemic.

What percentage of the decline in production is for ARFI?

The figure is quite varied, the decline ranges from 30 to 50 percent. This is a pretty big number. Especially for friends who serve the retail sector such as building stores, during the pandemic, very few building shops are open. Even if it is open, the number of buyers is much reduced. The problem is that the renovation of the house can still be postponed, unlike the need for food and health. Now that it has started to slope, the condition is getting better. Hopefully this situation will be more conducive so that it can return to normal.

We take from the average production capacity of 1 million tons. From normal capacity it is reduced by 50 percent, so around 500 thousand tons. We really hope that after the situation has softened and become more conducive, economic conditions will rebound. Hopefully we can participate, because all components require the goods we produce.

During the pandemic, said Nicolas Kesuma, the production of ARFI members decreased by 30 to 50 percent. (Photo: Savic Rabos, DI: Raga /VOI)

At the beginning of 2022, what will the conditions be like?

For the first quarter in January, February, March and April began to increase. The confidence of the business world is there to get back on track, expansion plans that were previously delayed will slowly be realized. This is a good sign for the rise of our economy. Hopefully his condition will continue to improve.

I saw this situation happened after the vaccination went well. I think the government has done its best and the people have accepted this vaccination program. From here, business people are more confident to expand their business. That can boost our production volume.

For this roll former the raw materials are from domestic or imported?

For the raw materials used, it is 50:50, meaning that some of it can be met from within the country, and the rest is still imported. ARFI's friends will prioritize meeting their needs from within the country, which cannot only be imported.

So the opportunity is very big for this steel sector as well as light steel?

In the future, the need for steel is very large, the goods we produce, such as metal roofing, mild steel and others, are very much needed. In the future the use of wood, asbestos will decrease. So steel is the future. Products made of steel will be increasingly used. All sectors use steel in their respective sizes and portions. Steel is also included which can be recycled (recylelable). Mild steel in the future will be widely used, this is one product that will be good in the future. My prediction is that the steel and light steel industry will become the dominant industry in the future.

What about imports of steel from India and China so far, do they not threaten the local steel industry?

India and China do export their steel products to Indonesia. However, the government does two barriers to protect domestic steel producers. Namely with the imposition of anti-dumping import duties aimed at neutralizing the price of these imported goods with local steel. In addition, there is also the SNI barrier, which is imposed by the central government on imported goods. So the standard is equated to protect local goods.

Regarding the price, it must be admitted that steel products from China and India are cheaper. But with the Russia vs Ukraine war now prices are volatile again. So the price of imports and local products will be almost the same.

What other tips do you use to deal with foreign steel entering Indonesia?

We make customized products, not mass products. This can protect domestic steel producers indirectly. For example, the light steel that we sell in the market is an average of 6 meters, whereas if imports cannot be that long, the container can only be 5.9 meters long. If we put it in a container, the cubication will be high so it is not effective in shipping. Likewise for metal roofing products, not all of them can be met by goods that are mass product in size. The government also does not carelessly open the import faucet, as long as it can be fulfilled from within the country, it will use domestic products.

Regarding the relocation of the national capital city (IKN), what can ARFI do for IKN Nusantara?

Alhamdulillah and praise be to God, Mr. President has camped at point zero and carried out rituals with 34 regional heads. Hopefully this will be a good first step. From us, ARFI as a mild steel producer is ready to help the needs there. We are ready to support government programs at IKN Nusantara.

Underwater Nature Makes Nicolas Kesuma Charmed
Nicolas Kesuma was fascinated by the beauty of the underwater world. (Photo: Savic Rabos, DI: Raga /VOI)

The natural beauty under the sea fascinated Nicolas Kesuma. Before diving he was fascinated by the natural scenery exposed on the earth's surface. But after diving he was very impressed with the beauty of the underwater world. It turns out that its beauty is no less charming than a tourist attraction on the surface. This is what makes him even more addicted to exploring other diving spots throughout the motherland.

Nicolas really likes traveling, the Indonesian region which is rich in natural beauty is a destination for him. “I really like traveling, my focus area is still in Indonesia, especially Bali and its surroundings. After many dives, I went to diving spots (diving) scattered in various areas up to Raja Ampat," said the President Director of PT Alsun Suksesindo.

He strongly supports the government's program to promote tourism in remote parts of the archipelago. "The wealth of tourism in Indonesia is very much and of various types, it is Indonesia's treasure. We have to take care of it together. Indonesian nature tourism is very natural. So I support the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy program to promote tourism in Indonesia. Let's explore the natural wealth and tourism of the archipelago," he said.

According to Nicolas, his love for the underwater world has been a long process. "We are 24 hours on land, being able to dive under the sea is an opportunity that should not be missed. And after we dive it is very extraordinary, the scenery is extraordinary. The colors and types of flora and fauna on the seabed are very diverse. Fish and other marine fauna swimming among the plants and corals, is a very amazing sight. And if you dive once, guaranteed addiction to want again and again. Especially when you reach the Raja Ampat area, where the diving spots are like heaven,” he said.

The next target that Nicolas Kesuma will visit is spot diving in the waters of Banda Neira. (Photo: Savic Rabos, DI: Raga /VOI)

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Nicolas' diving activities had stopped. Now he's starting to dive again. Besides Raja Ampat, which other areas will you visit? “If it were me, I would really like to go to the Banda Neira area. In the Banda Sea, it is said that the diving spots are no less beautiful than Raja Ampat. Very curious to explore there. I'm just looking for the right time to go there. Especially now that flights are not as tight as before," he said.

According to Nico, before diving, you must be in excellent preparation. Starting from a diving license and physical readiness. And if you are under the sea, you have to be disciplined. When the time is up, you have to go up, you can't ignore it for any reason. "Being under the sea really makes us lulled by the beauty of nature, but when the time is over we have to go up," he said.

Apart from diving, Nicolas also plays golf and enjoys shooting sports. “I really like outdoor activities. Can be exposed to direct sunlight. For me it is more interesting and can make me refresh. Relieve fatigue after a week of struggling with busyness in the office and organization," he said.


Even though he is busy with various activities, Nicolas Kesuma must set aside time for his family, children and wife. "In this day and age there is very little physical encounter, but it is still important and must be done. But when circumstances do not allow, we must optimize the means of communication. Now the communication tools are more sophisticated. The telecommunications equipment that we have can be used for communication. Through mobile phones, we can stay connected with our children and wives," he said.

According to Nicolas Kesuma, communication is the key to maintaining harmonious relationships with family members. (Photo: Savic Rabos, DI: Raga /VOI)

For Nicolas there is no reason not to communicate. Because communication is the key to relationships in the family. "Greeting each other with family members is easy, but it will be meaningful if you do it with all your heart," he said.

For the weekend, as far as possible, Nicolas said, he invited his family to participate in his traveling activities. “Saturday and Sunday are family time. I will devote maximum attention to my wife and children. If possible, I will invite them when they go out,” he continued.

Through intense communication, we can know who our children are in contact with, where they are active and so on. He is very concerned that currently many children are not paying attention to their parents and are finally seeking attention from the wrong person. "The wrong slang has fatal consequences, they can fall into things that are not commendable," he said.

He advised young Indonesians to be careful not to fall into drugs. “Drugs must be avoided. Once entangled it is difficult to let go. Don't ever try drugs, for whatever reason," he said.

Young people, the word must really use the time for productive and useful activities. “Besides school, take part in extra-curricular activities that match your interests. Easy children must dare to try, don't be afraid to fail. Failing is common in every attempt. So keep trying and keep the spirit, “said Nicolas Kesuma.

"In the future the use of wood, asbestos will decrease. So steel is the future. Products made of steel will be increasingly used. All sectors use steel in their respective sizes and portions. Steel is also a recyclable material.”

Nicolas Kesuma