Reviving Indonesia’s past glory as the world’s biggest archipelagic state, then called Nusantara in pre-colonial era, is the newly elected Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s keynote in terms of economic development. In what his administration touted as the maritime axis power, Indonesia is going to build its economy with much larger proportion coming from the waters. Pushing renewable resources would mean a boost in fishing output, and the vision to increase sea trade would translate into an ambitious plan of ports building. To this extent, the government has a huge task of making a headstart.
Some analysts said the country is not by any means close to the bold terms of the maritime axis power, and the vision far-flung. Like in this lagging port infrastructure in Bojonegara, Banten, the decade-old vision to transform this shore into a port in West Java that will overtake Tanjung Priok in Jakarta as the hub for Sumatra-Java sea trade, let alone an important regional port on par with Singapore lacks every indication.
The service boat operated by Kadiman, among other small number of crews as seen on this page clearly suggests that Bojonegara has a long way to go. Its inability to handle large vessels is the reason Kadiman still works there. He and his small boat carries passengers and goods from and to the ships anchoring off the waters. Since Bojonegara is close to the Merak, one of the busiest ports in Indonesia, it has seen heavy traffic of cargos, tankers, and other large utility vessels such as dredging ships. Some shipping companies have made Bojonegara their home port.
But Kadiman does not get a lot of money there. The absence of infrastructure, especially the docks, is now certainly something he is grateful of, and also to some dozen other boat crews. Bojonegara remains trapped in visionary rhetorics, and it has not transformed into reality. Maritime power is not only limited to trades, but also the sovereignty over waters. The newly appointed Foreign Affair Minister Retno Marsudi underlines her agenda settling disputed claims with neighboring countries, and bolstering cooperation. The Joko Widodo-led new administration marks a dawn where Indonesia braves the world.