Early this morning, we heaved anchor and left Sungai Pakning to travel a short distance up the coast of Sumatra to Dumai. The journey only took a few hours and the scenery hasn’t changed that much: we’re anchored in another murky channel between the mainland and a clutch of islands, slightly wider this time, and the port itself is bigger. Much bigger, in fact, because Dumai is the second largest port in terms of palm oil export in the country; Belawan port in the city of Medan is the largest, and that’s also in Sumatra.
Our task here is to monitor palm oil exports, checking which ships are loading up with it and where they’re bound. This is a busy port with several large container ships waiting to dock and load their cargoes. Many of them will be taking consignments of palm oil to locations in Europe, China and elsewhere, so Dumai is a critical link in the chain, connecting the ongoing devastation of Indonesia’s rainforests with the supermarkets and petrol stations elsewhere in the world.
Keep reading and I’ll let you know what we uncover.
posted by Jamie on board the Esperanza