This week on Time for global action
- A film about the Enabling Trade project in Bitung will air this week on Bloomberg TV as part of the Time for global action series under the theme Infrastructure Partnerships for Socio-Economic Growth.
- The episode will also visit a container factory in San Antonio, Chile constructed and operated by Maersk Container Industry (MCI).
- The factory in Bitung is one of the first manufacturing plants in a region otherwise known for export of raw materials and fruit. The need for a more skilled workforce have resulted in technical and professional training, positively impacting on employment rates, in particular on women, and contributing significantly to socio-economic development in the region.
In September last year, a dwindling number of exports forced Maersk Line to suspend its direct service to the Port of Bitung in Eastern Indonesia.
It was yet another sign of the dire economic situation faced by the region. Indonesia might have one of the fastest growing economies in the world, but with over 90% of the country’s GDP concentrated around Jakarta in the West, life in the East is a very different story.
“For decades, Western Indonesia has progressed in terms of investment and development, whereas life in the East is a struggle with high poverty and unemployment rates. Young people migrate to the main island. They don’t see a future here in Bitung,” says Yahya Yumirat, sustainability advisor in Maersk Line.
A new approach
Yumirat is an Indonesian national who has worked for Maersk Line for 10 years. He moved to Bitung in 2015 to launch a pioneering new sustainability project which aims to turn this situation around.
“The project is about getting rid of the barriers to trade. It’s a new approach,” explains Yumirat. “With our direct call – it was ship-promoted trade, but it failed so we are trying a different angle which involves building up trade first by regenerating the area. Maersk Line will benefit because as industries grow, demand for shipping increases.”