A subdistrict of North Jakarta on the island of Java, the Port of Tanjung Priok is the largest port in Indonesia. The Port of Tanjung Priok is, in fact, the city's primary harbor. The Port of Tanjung Priok is about 125 nautical miles (187 kilometers or 116 miles by air) southeast of the Port of Panjang and about 330 nautical miles (421 kilometers or 202 miles by air) southeast of the Port of Palembang, both of which are on the nearby island of Sumatra.
Before humans settled the area, the coastal environment that would become the Port of Tanjung Priok was a swamp with brackish water and mangrove forests. Until the late 19th Century, Jakarta's port was Sunda Kelapa in the Kingdom of Pajajaran. When the Suez Canal was opened, maritime traffic grew beyond the capacity of Sunda Kelapa.
Construction on the Port of Tanjung Priok began in 1877, and several supporting facilities (like the Tanjung Priok Station) were completed over the following decades. By that time, Sunda Kalapa was being used by traditional two-masted sailing vessels carrying inter-island freight, as it is still used today.
In the early 1960s, the National Port Company managed Java's public ports. Later in that decade, the National Port Company was responsible for the Port of Tanjung Priok's commercial functions, while the Port Authority was responsible for operational activities in the Port of Tanjung Priok.
From 1970 until 1983, Java's Port Management Board was created to manage the Port of Tanjung Priok and other public ports. In 1983, the Port Management Board became Java's Public Port Corporation responsible for managing the country's commercial ports. The Public Port Corporation governed four different areas.
In 1991, the Public Port Corporation was legally changed to the Indonesia Port Corporation (or the PT Pelabuhan Indonesia [Pelindo]). There are four state-owned Indonesia Port Corporations. The headquarters of Indonesia Port Corporation II are located in Jakarta and control port operations in ten provinces containing 12 commercial ports, including the Port of Tanjung Priok in the Jakarta Capital District Province. Indonesia Port Corporation II covers the area containing Jakarta, West Java, West and South Sumatra, Jambi, Bengkulu, Bangka Belitung, Lampung, Banten, and West Kalimantan.