1st Indian cargo ship to dock at Sittwe Port in Myanmar

The project will enhance trade and people-to-people links between India and Myanmar…reports Asian Lite News

In a significant landmark for connectivity between the two countries, the first Indian cargo ship will dock at Sittwe Port in Myanmar on Tuesday (May 9, 2023). The ship, which had set sail from Kolkata Port last Thursday (May 4, 2023), will be received by Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal.

The ceremony is likely to inaugurate regular transit of cargo ships between Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port in Kolkata, India to Sittwe Port in Rakhine state of Myanmar, heralding a new age of transportation between the two countries, India’s Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways had said last week.

The Sittwe Port is part of the Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport Project. The project includes a waterway route from Sittwe Port to Kaletwa (225 kms) along the Kaladan River and thereafter a roadway from Kaletwa to the India-Myanmar border (62 kms).

The project will enhance trade and people-to-people links between India and Myanmar. This development is also expected to contribute to the economic development of the North-Eastern States of India, by opening up the sea route for the products. It provides a strategic link to the North-East, thereby reducing pressure on the Siliguri Corridor.

The Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport Project was jointly identified by India and Myanmar to create a multi-modal mode of transport for shipment of cargo from the eastern ports of India to Myanmar as well as to the North-Eastern part of India through Myanmar.

Sittwe Port will provide connectivity with the Northeast India through two routes.

  1. From Paletwa in Myanmar to Zorinpui in Mizoram: The Sittwe Port connects to Paletwa in Myanmar through an inland waterway and from Paletwa to Zorinpui in Mizoram through a road component.
  2. From Sittwe, Myanmar to Sarboom, Tripura: Goods from Kolkata to Sittwe Port can be shipped to Teknaf Port, Bangladesh which is just 60 nautical miles off Sittwe. From Teknaf Port, goods can be transported by road to Sabroom which is 300 kms away. Sabroom has an Integrated Customs Border between Bangladesh and Tripura. According to the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Sittwe Port and Kaladan Project will immensely benefit Tripura by way of a significant reduction in transportation time and logistics cost.

“This is a far more feasible route for the trade and commerce of Northeast India, than the existing route via Siliguri to Kolkata, saving time, money and excelling efficiency,” Union Minister Sonowal said on Friday (May 4, 2023).

According to information shared by him, the cost of transportation of goods from Kolkata to Aizwal (in Mizoram) will see a drop of more than 50% in cost and time when the cargo is sent from Kolkata to Sittwe onto Palletwa and after that via road to Aizwal and the whole of Northeast India.

Similarly, transportation of goods from Kolkata to Agartala (in Tripura) will incur much lesser cost and time via this route. While the length of road from Kolkata to Agartala is around 1600 kms and takes 4 days via roadways, the Sittwe to Chittagong to Sarboom to Agartala journey will be done in 2 days, saving cost and time.

“Apart from the Northeast India, this port will also unlock huge commercial potential for Bangladesh, Bhutan and even Nepal – apart from India and Myanmar – by acting as a bridge with the South East Asia,”

Major cargo for export for Sittwe Port (exports from Myanmar) include rice, timber, fish and seafood, petroleum products and Garments and textiles. The major cargo for import for Sittwe Port (imports by Myanmar) include construction materials such as cement, steel and bricks among others. (India News Network)

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