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N Belawan Deli

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BELAWAN (DELI), N. Sumatra, Dutch East Indies, on Pulau Belawan, an island of mud and mangroves, at the estuary of the Deli and Belawan rivers. It is the port for Medan, serves the rapidly-expanding trade of the east coast of Sumatra, and is the most important port in N. Sumatra. The hinterland grows tobacco in Deli, Langkat, and Serdang, and Belawan is the port of ship ment for the tobacco, and other produce, rubber, tea, palm-oil, and sisal fibre. When present improvements are completed, it will have about 6,000 ft. of wharfage space, with the necessary warehouse accommodation. The harbour is greatly handicapped by the bar of the deep Belawan river, and powerfu! dredgers are kept at work continually to keep open the deep channel, and make it deeper. At present there is a minimum depth of 25 ft. at low tide over a width of 6o metres in the channel, so that ships drawing 23 ft. can enter at all times, whilst vessels drawing 26 ft. can enter at high tide. The tonnage of the port (1922) was 1,265,018. It is unhealthy and Europeans usually reside at Labuan Deli, a few miles up the river. Belawan has constant communication with Singapore and Penang, and Sumatran and Javanese ports. It is 12 miles distant from Medan with which it is connected by a good motor road, and it is also the terminus of the Deli railway, which crosses the channel south of the island by a bridge; it has cable connections which link it with Java and with Singapore.

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