1 May 18 - Myanma Port Authority, under the Ministry of Transport and Communications, launched its Port Electronic Data Interchange (Port EDI) system on April 30. The adoption will computerise the entire system and enhance the efficiency of trade and logistics in the coastal ports.

The launch ceremony was held at Park Royal Hotel in Yangon on April 30. The implementation of the new system was supported by the Japanese government and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) since 2015.

Port EDI system consists of six system functions and system infrastructure. The system functions provide the port clearance procedures system, berth allocation system, invoice issuing system, statistics management system, logistics monitoring system and terminal operation system.

With the new systems, port-related procedures, collection of port charges, management of port statistics and terminal operation management handled by paperwork and rudimentary way of data processing for the whole process can be replaced and streamlined with technology. The system provides smooth flows of operation within a short time and without unnecessary inputs. For example, documents do not have to be circulated manually. 

Maritime trade for Myanmar accounts for 85pc of national trade. Hence reforming port process is vital to modernising the country's trade competitiveness.

Communications and information regarding the maritime trade system need to be supported by modern technology, U Thant Sin Maung, Minister for the Ministry of Transport and Communications, said during the launch.

The computerisation of the port system reduces paperwork and increases efficiency, Dr Myo Nyein Aye, the project's director, said. The government agency noted that currently, all the ports still have to rely on paper documents for registration and recording purposes.

The government has prioritized the development of ports as a core part of its economic reform programme. As the economy grows, the trade and necessary capacity of Yangon ports expand.