Belawan Port

Indonesia - Pelabuhan Belawan

Pelabuhan Belawan port Indonesia

Belawan Port is located in Medan on the northeast coast of Sumatra. It is Indonesia‘s busiest seaport outside of Java. It covers an area of 29.44 square kilometres.


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Belawan is situated on the NE coast of Sumatra facing the busy Malacca Strait.

General overview:

Belawan is the port for Medan, 18km south. As well as handling general, bulk cargoes and oil products the port accommodates a substantial passenger throughput. The port is a major exporter of rubber and palm oil, with a growing export trade in manufactured goods; also forest products, tobacco, tea and coffee.

Traffic figures:

Approx 1,770 vessels, 11,000,000t of cargo and 320,500TEU handled annually. Load line zone: Tropical. Max size: LOA 245m, draught 10.0m, 30,000DWT. Largest vessel handled: LOA 200m, 22,594GT.

Available facilities at Belawan Port

  • Break Bulk
  • Container
  • Liquid
  • Dry Bulk
  • Passenger
  • Bunkering
  • Multipurpose

History of Belawan Port

Port Belawan (locode IDBLW) was built in 1890, in order to provide a harbour waterway for tobacco to be directly transferred between rail lines (out of Sumatra’s interior) and deep-draft cargo ships. In 1907, the harbor expanded due to the construction of a new section (intended for Indonesian and Chinese traders), thus reserving the rest of the port for European shipping. During the early 20th century, the port’s business expanded via the growth of large palm oil and rubber plantations in northern Sumatra. During the 1920s, at the port were constructed several major berthing/docking facilities.

In 1938, Belawan was ranked Dutch East Indies’s largest cargo port in terms of freight values. After the Proclamation of Indonesian Independence (August 1945). cargo shipping trade volumes substantially dropped and didn’t reach their pre-independence levels until the mid-1960s. Major 1985 port redevelopment and restructuring saw the building of a container terminal which almost immediately captured around 1/5 of Indonesia’s containerized exports. Major products exported from Belawan include palm oil, rubber, coffee, and tea.


Medan is the fourth largest city in Indonesia after Jakarta, Surabaya, and Bandung. With a population of about 2 million people it is the largest city outside of Java. There is no single ethnic group forming a majority; the largest ethnic groups are the Chinese, Javanese, Toba-Batak, Minangkabau, Mandailing Batak, Karo Batak, Southern Indians, and Northern Indians, and there are many more ethnic minorities.

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