02 December 2020 - Source: Myanmar Times
2020 will be the year Yangon River accommodates the largest vessels in its history in terms of size and draft as a result of improved waterways in the river, said Win Myint Aung, Deputy Director-General of the Myanmar Port Authority (MPA).
"This year will be the best year in the history of the Yangon River, as it will be the year when the longest ships will start docking at the deepest part of the river," said Win Myint Aung.
The draft of a ship's hull is the vertical distance between the waterline and the bottom of the hull. It determines the minimum depth of water in which a ship or boat can safely navigate.
U Win Myint Aung said ships with drafts of 10 meters will be allowed to dock at Yangon's ports from now onwards.
Last month, a 10.5-meter-draft vessel was able to call at Yangon for the first time in Myanmar port history. From July to November, a total of 15 ships with drafts of 9.5 meters docked at Yangon's ports, according to an MPA report.
The development is part of a five-year plan to enable larger foreign cargo ships to call at Yangon's ports. Larger vessels allow more goods to be delivered per call, which, in turn, enables importers to accelerate delivery times and cut costs.
At the time, larger vessels were allowed to pass through the Yangon River only by waiting for the tide to rise in order to sail. Under the plan, Singapore-based Star High Asia Pacific Co was awarded a US$25 million five-year dredging contract in the Yangon River to facilitate these vessels.
Yangon's two main ports, Thilawa and the Port of Yangon, are located along the Yangon River where container vessel sizes are restricted due to sandbars located along the navigation channel. Yangon port is located in downtown Yangon while Thilawa Port is located 16km further downstream.
Of the 149 vessels that called in Yangon between July and November, 135 had drafts above 8 meters and gross tonnage of 15,000 tonnes to 30,000 tonnes, according to the MPA.
The improved capacity of the Yangon River is expected to enable more containerised cargo throughput at the port and encourage higher volumes of trade. About 95 percent of Myanmar's trade is conducted by sea. In the last fiscal year, cargos worth over US$10.4 billion was exported and US$15.6 billion was imported via the maritime route. - Translated