Indonesia Should Prioritize Maritime Sector Towards APEC Connectivity


Jakarta  (Antara News) РThe World Bank has suggested that Indonesia prioritize the development of its maritime sector to strengthen its connectivity in the APEC region.

World Bank senior economist Sjamsu Rahardja said at an APEC 2013 Focus Group Discussion (FGD) on the strengthening of Indonesia`s connectivity in the Asia-Pacific region held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here on Friday that maritime connectivity is a big agenda for Indonesia that should be solved first.

“Considering that Indonesia is an archipelagic country whose 70 percent of its territory is made up of waters, we have to be strong in the domestic connectivity first before going out,” he said.

The reason why the maritime connectivity is important is that the mobility and transportation by sea is cheaper than by air, he explained.

According to Rahardja, maritime infrastructure in Indonesia is currently centered around Java, while in other islands, particularly the eastern region it is taken for granted.

“We know that the gateway to eastern Indonesia is Makassar, South Sulawesi. In fact, the direct connection, say between Maluku and Java, will be much effective if there are not many transit points for ships to load and unload goods,” he said.

Thus, Rahardja added that Indonesia should expand the development of ports in an evenly way as the availability of adequate infrastructures will automatically attract investors.

To establish a massive connectivity among the islands, the government cannot merely rely on investors since not all sectors, particularly those outside Java are attractive to investors, he said.

Hence, the government and all stakeholders, including local governments and the private sector, should participate in the development of infrastructure, he said.

“Everything is related to each other. The development of ports will enable regions to establish connectivity and then open a wider network with one another. As such, we can enter ASEAN and APEC connectivity easily with strong domestic connectivity,” he said.

Regarding the “Pendulum Nusantara Project” (Pendulum of the Archipelago) as one of the efforts to improve the sea traffic in Indonesia, Rahardja said it is already on the right track, but it needs to be developed in order to attract investment in the shipping industry.

The Pendulum Nusantara Project is a sea fright transport program aimed at cutting logistic costs by improving the movement of goods along the country`s vast waterways. Under the program, the government will use six seaports, Belawan, Batam, Tanjung Priok, Tanjung Perak, Makassar and Sorong, as the main gateways. The government started the project in 2012.

“As I said that in order to establish a maritime connectivity, we need to complete its all facilities and infrastructures. To build a harbor means we have to also establish its broadband mechanism to support a major sea traffic system, for example,” said Rahardja.





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