Once a port for exporting petroleum during the Duct Colonial period, Port of Sorong has become the largest port in West Papua. It plays a crucial role as a central port—a distribution center—in Eastern Indonesia. This port links this easternmost island with other regions throughout the country and overseas.
Sorong city itself is also a transit city, a city of industry, trade, and services. It is due to being surrounded by other regions that have high potentials for natural resources. It results in higher opportunities to attract domestic and foreign investments.
Read through the following article to find more about the Sorong seaport, its history at a glance, its planned developments, and its current status.
Port of Sorong – A Brief History
The history recorded that in about 1935, the Dutch Colonial opened a petroleum base camp—Bataafse Petroleum Maatschappij (BPM)—in Sorong city, West Papua. BPM later changed into Nederlands Nieuw-Guinea Petroleum Maatschappij (NNGPM), with Doom Island as the center of the government.
It is no wonder you will still find the relics of the former historic Dutch oil company scattering around the city. One of the remnants still being used today is Port of Sorong—once was a port of petroleum export.
The Plan as International-Scale Seaport
During her visit to Manokwari, West Papua, on 14 August 2015, the SOEs Minister, Rini Soemarno, announced the plan to design Port of Sorong as an international port. It was part of President Joko Widodo’s idea of sea tolls. The purpose is to empower the existing strategic position of this port as the main link of sea toll flow among Eastern Indonesia regions.
President Director of PT Pelabuhan Indonesia (Pelindo) IV, Mulyono, confirmed the statement of the SOEs Minister. On 26 August 2015, he stated that the government was about to prepare the Port of Sorong as the main link of logistics industry activities on this island.
Therefore, to realize the plan, PT Pelindo IV budgeted IDR411.5 billion to improve the port infrastructure. Ongoing improvement is to increase the loading capacity of the port.
In addition to an international-scale seaport, there was also a plan to build Sorong as a Special Economic Area (KEK). According to the Coordinating Minister for Maritime and Investment Affairs, there is also a plan to make the city the center for new economic growths, especially in eastern Indonesia (KTI).
The Largest Port in West Papua
The state-owned enterprise, PT Pelabuhan Indonesia (Pelindo) IV of Sorong Branch, operates the Port of Sorong. Located in the Bird’s Head Peninsula, it is the largest seaport in West Papua.
Classified as Port Class I, Port of Sorong is a conventional port for multiple purposes and targeted plans.
- As one of the sea transportation gateways entering and exiting the province
- As a central port in West Papua aimed to boost economic growth and promote the regions’ potentials
- As a distribution center in Eastern of Indonesia
- Serving the flows of passengers and goods from Sorong to other regions in this island, such as Raja Ampat, Manokwari, Fakfak, Serui, Wondama, Nabire, Jayapura, etc
- Serving the flows of passengers and goods from Sorong to other regions outside the island, such as Sulawesi, Maluku, Ambon, Ternate, Java, and more
- Consolidating the container potentials to many abroad destinations like Papua New Guinea, Australia, or East Timor
- As the final destination in the construction of sea transportation lines between ports all around Indonesia
Per 2020, PT Pelindo IV has operated four services of domestic voyages and one international shipping line. By having an international shipping service, this port can carry out direct calls and exports from other ports with container and passenger terminals, linking the trade in this island with other Indonesia’s regions.
To sum up, Port of Sorong is not only the largest sea transportation and shipping services, but it is also a means of development. The port presence can improve the exchange of natural resources, thus ultimately boosting the living standard of the local people and other regions in West Papua.