Dry port discussions under way on China border

The Shan State government has approved the project, and has asked First Golden Dragon Company to secure consent from landowners, said Muse district administrator U Kyaw Kyaw Htun.

The company hopes to build a 210-acre dry port including a highway bus station, space for trucks to load and unload, cold storage and new warehouses, he said.

All large trucks passing between Myanmar and China would be able to use the new development for storage, reducing heavy traffic and facilitating smoother trade, he said.

“Trucks currently have to park along the side of the road while they wait to enter the customs area at 105 Mile,” he said. As a result, the two-lane road grows quickly congested. Muse is the main overland trading point between Myanmar and China, bordering Ruili in Yunnan province.

“Myanmar exports are checked at 105 Mile, and sometimes do not pass through to China for some time. But there is no parking space. It’s essential that fields are set aside for vehicles and that warehouses are built to house Myanmar and China products,” U Kyaw Kyaw Htun said.

The only problem, he said, is that the land is owned by farmers.

“We have been seven or eight times to negotiate, as we want to make sure they understand. The zone would need to be very big, and would have to cross the 105 Mile trading zone.” Of the 201 acres, 147 would be used for the dry port, and the remaining land for warehouses, offices, restaurants, hotels and shops.

If the company is able to negotiate sale of the land, the project will pass to the Myanmar Investment Commission for approval.

The area includes Shan traditional houses, a museum and a restaurant, which would all have to make way for the dry port, U Kyaw Kyaw Htun said.

“We are offering much higher compensation than is offered elsewhere in Myanmar, but farmers want more. Ultimately it depends on their agreement,” he said.

U Sai Hla Min of First Golden Dragon Company said he had originally offered to pay K30 million per acre, but his offer had been refused. He is now offering K80 million for an acre – which some landowners have accepted, though others are still holding out. He hopes the negotiations will be complete by the end of this year.

If it goes ahead, the project would tie in with a government plan to build a network of eight inland ports across the country, under a United Nations initiative.

Thura U Aung Myo Myint, general manager of Myanma Railways, previously told The Myanmar Times the government has plans to develop inland ports in eight locations by 2020 – Yangon, Mandalay, Muse, Tamu, Mawlamyine, Monywa, Bago and Pyay.

Dry ports can help combine the use of road, rail, sea and waterways when moving cargo across and between countries.

U Win Lwin from the Ministry of Commerce, who runs the trading zone at 105 Mile, said around 1300 trucks pass through the area each day, and that a dry port could reduce traffic congestion and make the customs process more efficient. For now, the small area is jammed with laden trucks.

“When the traffic is very heavy, far fewer trucks are able to pass across the border, or if the traffic is clear, many will arrive at once, both from lower Myanmar and from Muse. Larger facilities would keep the traffic stable, resulting in better business,” U Win Lwin said.

U Soe Tun, deputy chair of the Myanmar Rice Federation, said for the rice trade it is very important that trucks are given more space and that new special economic zones are developed on the Myanmar side of the border.

“The problem now is that Chinese traders don’t want to come, so goods from Myanmar have to be taken to China. If the project is successful, it would bring huge benefits,” he said. “The 105 Mile point was built for only a few hundred cars, but more than 1000 trucks pass through each day, so the traffic builds up and time is wasted.”

Source: Myanmar Times

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