The Strategic Importance of the Straits of Malacca

ZEF Working Paper Series No. 17

17 Pages Posted: 14 Oct 2010

See all articles by Hans-Dieter Evers

Hans-Dieter Evers

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

Solvay Gerke

Center for Development research (ZEF)

Date Written: 2006


World trade and energy resources have to pass certain "choke points" between areas of production and their final destination. One of these is the Straits of Malacca, the sea passage connecting the China Sea with the Indian Ocean. Trade through the Malacca Straits historically played a major role in the formation of the littoral states such as Srivijaya, Aceh, Melaka, Johore, the Straits Settlements and more recently Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. The Straits are one of the world's most vulnerable areas because of its high potential for political conflict, piracy and ecological disaster. They are not just a conduit for sea traffic from East to West or West to East, but also a crossroads of cultures and societies. With closer regional economic integration cross-Straits communication is increasing. Cross-boundary social networks are ethnically diverse but closely integrated. Thus the Straits bear great opportunities for the economic and social development of the littoral states of Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Moreover, peace and stability in the region is a precondition for regional development, for uninterrupted energy supplies and international trade between the European Union and East Asia. Based on field observations and recent statistical sources the paper outlines the current strategic importance of the Straits of Malacca for world trade and regional development.

Keywords: international trade, shipping, development, Indonesia, Malaysia

JEL Classification: O53, R1, R40

Suggested Citation

Evers, Hans-Dieter and Gerke, Solvay, The Strategic Importance of the Straits of Malacca (2006). ZEF Working Paper Series No. 17. Available at SSRN: or

Hans-Dieter Evers (Contact Author)

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia ( email )

Institute of Malaysian and International Studies (
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
Bangi, Selangor D.E. 43600
+60-149456927 (Phone)


Solvay Gerke

Center for Development research (ZEF) ( email )

Walter-Flex-Str. 3
Bonn, NRW 53113


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