Indonesian President Joko Widodo inaugurated the Patimban sea port in West Java on Sunday, saying the new gateway would have a "strategic" role in boosting the nation's pandemic-hit economy.
The 43.2 trillion rupiah ($3.07 billion) port in the town of Subang, 140 km (90 miles) east of the capital Jakarta, is one of the government’s priority infrastructure projects, designed to boost Southeast Asia's largest economy and relieve pressure on Jakarta’s congested Tanjung Priok port.
Speaking via link from the state palace, the president, widely known as Jokowi, said the first of three phases of the strategic project in Indonesia’s most populous province had been finished.
“Amid the pandemic, one of the national strategic projects, Patimban, has been completed,” he said. “With its strategic location, I am sure that Patimban will be key in connecting different sectors, from industrial manufacturing to agriculture, and increasing exports.”
Built with funding from the Japanese government, the port is expected to boost Indonesia’s economic recovery, after the Southeast Asian nation entered a recession for the first time in 22 years in the third quarter.
The government has targeted the port to boost the competitiveness of Indonesia’s exports, particularly in the automotive sector.
Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said an operational trial of the port had been carried out this month, ahead of the first official day of operation on Sunday.
“In this inaugural operation, the first exports from Patimban will be carried out, including 140 cars made by Toyota and Daihatsu that will be sent to Brunei Darussalam,” he said.
Expected to be finished in entirety by 2027, the port is also expected to generate up to five million jobs in West Java. ($1 = 14,080.0000 rupiah)
(Reporting by Maikel Jefriando; Writing by Kate Lamb; Editing by William Mallard)