Ministry push to improve waterway logistics

The Ministry of Transport will focus on constructing new ports and renovating docks and jetties, as well as developing the Thilawa port region, using a combination of Japanese loans and government funds, said U Thet Tun, deputy permanent secretary for the Ministry of Transport.

The ministry will also collaborate with local and foreign private companies in its bid to improve the country’s water transport systems.

“We plan to hold a technological seminar in August with the help of Japan to enhance the safety of our waterway transportation,” he said. “We also plan to install a Vessel Traffic Management System to improve the safety of ships coming into and leaving Yangon Port, with help from Japan.”

Myanmar Port Authority will also begin the construction of jetties in Thilawa special economic zone (SEZ) this month, he said. This will be funded through a US$209 million Official Development Assistance loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which is to be spent on developing the SEZ. ODA loans are typically long-duration loans that carry very low interest rates.

The Ministry of Transport signed a deal in March to adopt a port electronic data interchange (EDI) system, using $14.27 million in grant aid from Japan. This will help to enhance the capability of the port, and will be implemented within two years, according to the agreement.

Since water transport is the cheapest way to carry many goods, the ministry will focus on improving the waterways of the Ayeyarwady and Chindwin rivers and preventing riverbank erosion.

Several more waterways projects are awaiting approval from Myanmar Investment Commission. One of these is an agreement between Myanma Port Authority and Sein Kaung Yadanar Trading Company, which won a tender to upgrade Sule Port into an international cargo port.

Another is an agreement between tender winner Downtown Development Public Limited and Myanma Port Authority to redevelop the Yangon Port area, Nanthida Port and the Pansodan-Dala Jetty.

The number of ships arriving into Yangon Port has doubled over the past 10 years, while the arrival of general goods has increased by 2.5 times, and the arrival of containers has increased fourfold over the same period, said U Thet Tun.

To be able to handle the rise in traffic, the ministry will need to upgrade the jetties and build new ports. Myanmar will spend K8838 million ($8 million) this fiscal year to repair its waterways, docks and jetties, he said.

Currently Yangon has 32 jetties in total – 23 international jetties in the Yangon Port area, and nine jetties in the Thilawa Port area.

The government is trying to increase the involvement of the private sector, in order to effectively upgrade the ports, according to the Ministry of Transport. The current jetty ownership ratio between government owned jetties and those owned by the private sector is 80:20 in favour of government ownership.

The ministry is also receiving $100 million worth of loans from the World Bank for the Ayeyarwady Integrated River Basin Management Project, which aims to strengthen management and development of the river basin and national water resources.

Source: Myanmar Times

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