Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sea Travel and the Maritime Industry in Indonesia

Indonesian people have traveled from one island to another for years. Sea travel is not seen as tourists journey but business one. As the largest archipelago in the world, Indonesia has more than 17,000 islands big and small. Before the introduction of modern passenger ships from Germany by Pelni lines, the islands between Asia and Australia continents had been served mostly by small steel cargo vessels, ro-pax ferries, and thousands of traditional wooden boats.

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Sea travel and maritime industry are two inter-related sectors that support the mobility of travelers and goods in Indonesia. Airplanes from tens of airline companies in Indonesia cannot replace the vital role of passenger - cargo ships that have existed in this country for years. So, although the number of flights continues to rise in many cities and towns in Indonesia, it is not enough to fulfill the needs of means of transportation to move goods and people. Ships and boats still play significant role in Indonesian islands.

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The growth of population in Indonesia is around two percent every year with the current population has reached more than 220 million people. This figure puts this country as the fifth most populous nation in the world. Such a large number of people scatter around thousands of islands from Sabang to Merauke. Besides having a lot of population, Indonesia too has high economic growth.

Indonesia's high economic growth, in the middle of world financial crisis, needs the provisions of various types of ships to support it. Indonesia needs hundreds of small passenger ships to serve the mobility of the Indonesian people and cargo ships to transport goods. Big cities in Java and Sumatra needs raw materials from Kalimantan, Papua and Sulawesi islands whereas small towns in the remote islands need cargo ships to deliver manufactured products to support the economic development. by Charles Roring