Business News/ News / Sonowal to receive first Indian cargo ship at Sittwe Port in Myanmar, unlocking economic potential for Bay

New Delhi: Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Ayush, Sarbananda Sonowal, is set to receive the first Indian cargo ship at Sittwe Port in Myanmar on May 9, 2023, marking the start of regular transit of cargo ships between Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port in Kolkata, India and Sittwe Port in Rakhine state of Myanmar.

This development is expected to usher in a new era of transportation between the two countries, unlocking tremendous economic potential for the entire Bay of Bengal peninsula.

According to the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, this route will serve as a bridge between the South Asia and South East Asia regions.

Speaking on the occasion, Sonowal said that the Sittwe port development is part of the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project (KMTTP), which will enable multi-modal transit connectivity with South East Asia.

The Sittwe port has been developed under a framework agreement between India and Myanmar for the construction and operation of a Multimodal Transit Transport Facility on the Kaladan river connecting the Sittwe port in Myanmar with the state of Mizoram in India. Once operationalized, the port will benefit not only the Northeast India, but also Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal.

In his statement, Sonowal praised the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his “Act East" proposition, which he said has made it possible for landlocked Northeast India to finally have a much shorter access to the International Sea Route. This, in turn, will boost the trade prospects of Northeast India in the coming years, he said.

The Kaladan Multi-Modal Transport TP will provide an alternate connectivity route from the eastern coast of India to the North-eastern states through the Sittwe port. This will be a 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.

The cost of transportation of goods from Kolkata to Aizwal is expected to see a drop of more than 50% in cost and time when the cargo is sent from Kolkata to Sittwe onto Palletwa and then via road to Aizwal and the whole of Northeast India.

The major cargo for export for Sittwe Port include rice, timber, fish and seafood, petroleum products, and garments and textiles. The major cargo for import for Sittwe Port include construction materials such as cement, steel, and bricks among others.

The opening of the Sittwe port will immensely benefit Tripura by way of a significant reduction in transportation time and logistics cost. This development is expected to not only help the economies of India and Myanmar but also benefit the environment by reducing traffic on the road and the use of marine transport, which will considerably bring down environmental costs of transport with a drop in fossil fuel carbon emission.

Indian Minister of State for Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Shantanu Thakur, launched a direct shipping service between the southern Indian port of Tuticorin and the Maldives on Thursday. The service, operated by the Shipping Corporation of India, is expected to enhance connectivity, reduce transport time and cut costs between the two countries.

The vessel ‘M.V. MSS Galena’, with a carrying capacity of 421 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of containers and provision to carry bulk cargo, departed from PSA SICAL Container Terminal with 270 TEUs of containers on May 5 and is scheduled to reach the Maldives on May 7. The shipping service is set to make three calls a month, with a rotation of Tuticorin-Male-Tuticorin.

The service was launched as a result of a Memorandum of Understanding signed for the Establishment of Passenger and Cargo Services by Sea between the Ministry of Port, Shipping & Waterways, Government of India, and the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation, Government of Maldives on June 8, 2019, during the state visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Maldives.

Thakur said the service added a new chapter to connectivity initiatives taken by both countries in the Indian Ocean Region and promoted, developed and stabilized shipping connectivity between Indian and Maldivian ports. The launch of the service fulfilled the commitment made by Prime Minister Modi during his visit to Maldives and would give impetus to bilateral trade between the two nations, he said.

Prior to the launch of this new service, bulk cargo bound for the Maldives was sent through barges and sail ships, while containers were routed through Colombo. A service between Tuticorin-Kochi-Kulhudhuffushi-Male was operated by the Shipping Corporation of India, with the vessel ‘MCP Linz’ carrying a capacity of 200 TEUs of containers and 3,000 tonne of general cargo.

The new direct shipping service is expected to further enhance maritime trade links with renewed vigor between the two countries, providing greater trade and economic opportunities.

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Updated: 05 May 2023, 09:48 PM IST
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