Myanmar relies on Indian-built Sittwe Port to boost Arakan’s economy

Myanmar hopes its Indian-built Sittwe Port will transform regional connectivity and boost its trade with India. The port, which is part of the Kaladan multimodal transit transport project, opened on May 9. The project aims to provide an alternative route connecting India’s east coast to the north-eastern states via the Port of Sittwe. The port connects Palapprox in Myanmar via an inland waterway and from Palapprox to Zorinpui in Mizoram via a section of road. Locals hope that direct trade with India will bring economic prosperity to the state of Arakan.

Agreements to start direct trade are in preparation between the two countries. Myanmar and India have yet to sign a coastal shipping pact to begin trade between Sittwe and Kolkata. The two governments must decide how often cargo will be shipped between Calcutta and Sittwe. For example, they can choose to operate one ship per week or two ships per month. Shipping companies will not make a big profit at the initial stage.

The port has been opened, but it will not be operational until a shipping line that will operate regularly between Koklata and Sittwe comes into operation. U Tin Aung Oo, chairman of the Rakhine State Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is optimistic about the port. “Currently, Bangladesh is the only country with which the State of Arakan trades, and that is in cross-border trade.

We can trade directly with the Indian port of Kolkata via the port of Sittwe. This means there are more choices for traders. There will also be more job opportunities. I expect trade to improve,” U Tin told local media.

“An application has been made through our organization to allow business owners from Myanmar to use coasters for trade. We are still negotiating that.” U Tha Tun Hla, leader of the Arakan National Party, told local media that the port of Sittwe would bring some benefits to the people of Arakan if products from Arakan state were allowed to trade through it .

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