Leipzig. The International Maritime Organization believes Indonesia is on the right track to become a key player in the international maritime industry during President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s tenure, its chief said on Wednesday (19/05).
The IMO is a specialized United Nations agency responsible for measures to improve the safety and security of international shipping and to prevent marine pollution from ships.
“Your president knows exactly what you should do, and what area you should improve. He made a good presentation at the IMO. He knows exactly at that point,” IMO secretary general Kitack Lim told reporters on the sidelines of the International Transport Forum summit in Leipzig, Germany.
Jokowi has on several occasions mentioned his intention to make Indonesia the main hub for global maritime transportation. The president intends to start this process by building world-class harbors across the archipelago to raise the country’s competitiveness and reduce the complexity of logistics.
The president visited the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee in London last month at the invitation of Lim as part of the secretary general’s initiative to raise awareness of the organization.
During the meeting the Jokowi said that Indonesia had completed the construction of 27 new ports and that it was currently building another 68 in the eastern part of the country, including in Maluku, Papua, East Nusa Tenggara and Sulawesi.
“I’m so confident that you will achieve the target [during Jokowi’s tenure],” Lim said. “If you look at your neighboring countries, you see many success stories. You have great potential for a prosperous maritime industry.”
However, Lim said Indonesia needs to pay more attention to financial sustainability and invest more in improving skills of workers in the maritime industry instead of only focusing on building harbors.
“I have some doubts about how much manpower you have to promote international shipping, technical management of ships and also how to develop your port infrastructure, design ports and how to take care of logistics. These are not the easy ones,” he said.
Lim suggested that Indonesia should engage in more strategic bilateral partnerships with other countries that have more expertise in the maritime industry.