The Port of Sittwe in Myanmar, which has been funded by India under the $500 million Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport project, will open in May with the first voyage of a ship from Netaji Subhas Dock in Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port, Kolkata on March 4 May go into operation.
The ship is due to call at Sittwe port on May 9, where a contingent from the Indian side led by Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal will hold a welcoming ceremony for the ship, government sources said.
The opening of the port of Sittwe will boost trade and commerce between the two neighboring countries, a government official said.
Sittwe is a deep water port established by India in the capital of Rakhine State in Myanmar on the Bay of Bengal.
Located at the mouth of the Kaladan River, the $120 million port is funded by India as part of the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project, an India-Myanmar collaboration aimed at developing transport infrastructure in southwestern Myanmar and northeastern India.
The Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project was conceived by India to provide an alternative route to north east landlocked India. The only access to these seven states is via the Siliguri Corridor, a narrow strip of Indian territory between Nepal and Bangladesh known as the “Chicken’s Neck”.
Routing all cargo destined for the Northeast through this corridor causes significant transportation delays and costs.
The Kaladan project also aims to accelerate infrastructure and economic development in India and Myanmar.
The project includes building a deep water port at the mouth of the Kaladan River in Sittwe, dredging the river to allow cargo ships to navigate the river from Sittwe to Mizoram in India, building a river port at Paletwa in Myanmar’s Chin State and upgrading the highways from Paletwa to Myeikwa on the Indo-Myanmar border.
With the opening of the port, cargo ships can shuttle between the east Indian seaport of Calcutta and the seaport of Sittwe in Myanmar via the Bay of Bengal.
In Myanmar, it will then connect the Sittwe seaport via the Kaladan River Boat Route to Palapprox Pier in Chin State and then from Palapprox on the road to Mizoram in north-eastern India.