On Wednesday May 19, 2016, the secretary general of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Kitack Lim, told reporters that he is optimistic about the development of Indonesia’s maritime industry. On the sidelines of the International Transport Forum summit in Leipzig he explained that the country is on the right way to become a key player in the international maritime industry during President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s tenure. Indonesia has great potential for a prosperous maritime industry since, besides others, its president knows exactly what needs to be done and what area should be improved.
The IMO is an agency of the United Nations and in charge of measures to improve safety and security of international shipping and to avoid marine pollution from ships. Jokowi met with the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee in London in April, where he presented the country’s progress in the maritime sector. Despite the positive evaluation, Lim suggested that the country could invest more in improving skills of workers and further optimize financial sustainability in the maritime industry.
Indonesia is the world’s biggest archipelagic country with 6 million of its 7,9 million square-kilometer territorial area consisting of seawater, 17.508 islands and a 94.156 kilometers long coastline – the fourth longest after Canada, USA and Russia. Jokowi repeatedly introduced his vision to make Indonesia a global maritime axis and the main hub for global maritime transportation, given the country’s strategic position in the global sea trade. The construction of 27 new ports was just completed and currently another 68 are built in Indonesia's eastern part, including projects in Maluku, Papua, East Nusa Tenggara and Sulawesi.