Indonesian government reaffirms maritime as main development sector
Indonesia is one of the worlds largest maritime countries, with some 5.8 million square kilometers of sea territory, while its land territory covers only 1.9 million square kilometers.
Its coastline is some 92 thousand kilometers long, making it the second-longest after Canada.
The country is the largest archipelagic nation in the world, as around 70 percent of its total territory is water, and it has 17,480 islands.
President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), who is determined to develop Indonesia as a global maritime axis, believes that the clusters of islands and vast waters in Indonesia could be used as one of the main axis for advancing the country.
The head of state also emphasized that the nation needs to promote its maritime identity and culture in line with its vision to become the global maritime axis.
The government, therefore, has identified the maritime sector as one of its main sectors for development.
“We have so far ignored them and never given them attention while the fact is that two thirds of the Indonesian territory are waters and it is a huge potential,” he said in an interview with Antara news agency, state-owned TVRI and state-run RRI on August 12, 2015.
He said one way to boost the countrys economic growth was infrastructure development to smooth distribution of goods by land and sea.
“We wish to start paying attention to it, develop it physically and build shipyards as interconnection between the islands is very important in addition to maritime education,” he said.
He said among big seaports to be built are Kuala Tanjung measuring 2,000 hectares, Tanjung Priok whose capacity will be increased to accommodate bigger flows of goods, Teluk Lamong in Surabaya, Makassar port in South Sulawesi and Sorong port in Papua.
Besides, the government is also focusing on the construction of the sea express transportation project to improve the condition of Indonesias maritime economy.
“One of our most important goals is the realization of the sea express transportation project. The sea express transportation system is among the maritime infrastructure facilities that will be supported by productive shipbuilding industries in Indonesia,” Jokowi stated on August 14, 2015, in his state of the nation address to commemorate Indonesias 70th Independence Day.
The nation must re-explore Indonesias maritime culture to achieve sovereignty in the sector that is supported by good economic conditions and abundant resources, Jokowi emphasized.