Indonesian president vows to ban state-run firms from buying ships built overseas

Jakarta: In the latest of a series of measures designed to boost local maritime competence and expertise, President Joko Widodo is planning on banning local firms from ordering new ships overseas.

“Orders abroad will no longer be allowed. Why should we order abroad while we are already able to build them,” he said when visiting Anggrek Hitam shipyard in Batam yesterday.

A key plank of Widodo’s presidency has been the promotion of a so-called maritime highway, bolstering shipping infrastructure to better connect the disparate, giant archipelago’s more than 12,000 islands. This has seen spending on ports in particular prioritised since he came to power last year.

“In Batam there are 104 shipbuilding industries. After returning from here I will gather officials from state-owned companies, the ministry of defence, the ministry of transportation, the ministry of fisheries and marine resources, state-owned oil company PT Pertamina, gas company PN Gas and (order them) to no longer order ships from abroad,” he said, according to the national news site, Antara.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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