08 Sep 2020 - Source: Myanmar Times - The Ministry of Transport and Communications is planning to develop several inland ports at the Ayeyarwady River and Chindwin River, to improve inland logistics and river transportation, said Toe Aung Lin, a director at the ministry's Directorate of Water Resources and Improvement of River Systems.

New infrastructure is needed as existing inland ports along the two rivers are too outdated and lack the modern equipment such as cranes needed to handle large volumes of cargo.

The new ports will be developed as major ports to improve the competitiveness of river transportation and logistics in Myanmar. This will also help to enhance trade with India, China and Thailand and is in line with Myanmar's National Development Plan and Logistics Master Plan.

The new ports, five in total, are in Magway, Pakokku and Bhamo along the Ayeyarwady River, as well as in Kalewa and Monywa along the Chindwin River.

The five inland port projects are among the government's priority infrastructure projects listed in the Myanmar Project Bank and worth US$182 million in total.

Tenders will be called for each of the projects when the ministry is ready, but construction is expected to start in the coming fiscal year, U Toe Aung Lin said. Developers will have three years to complete the job.

The project cost will not be funded by the government and investors who are interested should provide the needed financing, he said. More details on the projects will be released in due course.

The Ayeyarwady and Chindwin rivers are important waterways linking the coast to the Myanmar hinterland. The five ports, once developed, are expected to upgrade the inland economies through efficient cargo handling and containerisation, create more job opportunities for local people and enhance the competitiveness of economic zones and industrial zones in the area.

It will also help to lower prices of goods due to reduced cost of transport for cargo, savings in idle vessel time at berths with faster loading and unloading facilities, savings in loss and damage to cargo and safer and more reliable cargo handling.