Indonesia is politically and economically dependent upon good communications and transportation among the islands. Transportation facilities suffered greatly from destruction and neglect during World War II and immediately thereafter. The revitalized and partially modernized system suffered an additional setback during 1957-58 as a result of the withdrawal of Dutch equipment and personnel.
Of the 342,700 km (121,954 mi) of roadways in 2002, 158,670 km (98,598 mi) were paved. Indonesia had 526,300 passenger cars and 2,419,000 commercial vehicles as of 2001. Railways connect the main cities in Java and parts of Sumatra. The state owns all of the 6,458 km (4,013 mi) of railroad track in service. Air-conditioned cars and express service have been introduced in parts of Java, but no new lines have been built in recent years.
About 21,579 km (13,409 mi) of inland waterways form the most important means of transportation in Kalimantan and in parts of Sumatra. The principal ports of international trade are Tanjungpriok (for Jakarta) and Tanjungperak (for Surabaya) in Java, and Belawan (near Medan) and Padang in Sumatra. Ports with less traffic but capable of handling sizable ships are Cirebon and Semarang in Java; Palembang in Sumatra; Banjarmasin, Balikpapan, and Pontianak in Kalimantan; Tanjungpinang in Bintan; and Ujung Padang in Sulawesi. In 2002, Indonesia's total fleet included 5,668 vessels of 1,000 gross tons or more, totaling 2,969,281 GRT. Regulations were imposed in 1982 requiring that all government imports and exports be shipped in Indonesian vessels, and port charges were substantially altered to benefit Indonesia's national carriers. In 1984, a policy of scrapping old vessels was implemented.
Indonesia had 490 airports in 2001, of which 153 had paved runways. The center of international air traffic is Jakarta's Sukarno-Hatta International Airport. Other principal airports include Halim Perdanak at Jakarta and Polonia at Medan. In 2001, 10,048,000 passengers were carried on scheduled domestic and international flights.