Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has instructed related ministries to intensify the contribution of the sea toll road service to the country's gross domestic product (GDP) recorded at 0.3 percent as of September 2019.

During a limited cabinet meeting here on Thursday, president pointed to the contribution of sea transportation to Indonesia's economy tending to decline over these past five years than those of land and air transportation.

The contribution of land and air transportation to Indonesia's GDP had been recorded at 2.47 and 1.62 percent respectively, he stated, adding that their trends stayed positive from 2014 to September 2019.

During the same period, the contribution of sea transportation to Indonesia's GDP tends to decrease.

"I want this matter to be examined comprehensively," he stated.

In increasing the contribution of sea transportation to the GDP, President Jokowi, for instance, highlighted whether problems related to the sea toll road service are ingrained at seaports, such as the length of dwelling time or monopolistic practices in the transportation and distribution of goods that have made logistics costs inefficient.

According to ANTARA, the sea toll program is crucial for Indonesia, which is one of the world's largest maritime nations, with some 5.8 million square kilometers of maritime territory, while its land territory covers merely 1.9 million square kilometers.

Moreover, the largest archipelagic nation in the world has some 17,480 islands, and its coastline is some 92 thousand kilometers long, making it the second-longest after Canada.

The administration of President Jokowi, which aims at developing the country into a global maritime axis, has come up with the sea toll road concept that will improve ports and shipping in order to facilitate the transport of goods across the archipelago.

The sea toll road service, operational since 2015, is expected to help reduce the high price disparity between the eastern and western Indonesian regions, which has, so far, been caused by expensive shipping freight costs, as almost every ship returning from remote areas is empty or carries no freight.

It is never an easy task to implement this sea toll program to reduce the shipping costs of essential products in the country's remote areas.

In October 2019, President Jokowi had urged his related cabinet members to improve the sea toll program after drawing attention to a private company taking on a dominant role in pricing products transported through the port-to-port route.

"If the sea toll exists but does not aid in lowering the prices of products, then the purpose is lost?" he emphasized.

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Translator: Indra AP, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Atman Ahdiat
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