Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Ayush, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal will be receiving the first Indian cargo ship at Sittwe Port in Myanmar on May 9, 2023. 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.
The route is likely to unlock tremendous economic potential for the entire Bay of Bengal peninsula, allowing a bridge between South Asia and South East Asia regions, informed Shri Sonowal, while addressing media persons in Dibrugarh, Assam today.
Speaking on the occasion Shri Sonowal said, “Under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the Northeast India remains at the forefront of India’s developmental agenda. As we stand on this historic threshold, when the landlocked Northeast India will finally have a much shorter access to the International Sea Route, it would not have been possible without the visionary proposition of ‘Act East’ by Narendra Modi ji.
Due to Modiji’s commitment to the progress and prosperity of the Northeast region, we have been able to spearhead with speedy execution of the Sittwe port in Myanmar, with an aim to boosting the trade prospect of Northeast India in the ensuing years. 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. This is the true reflection of implementation of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ philosophy of Modi ji.”
Sittwe Port development is part of the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project (KMTTP). Once operationalized, the Sittwe port will enable multi-modal transit connectivity with South East Asia. 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.
Connectivity with Northeast India:
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.
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 from Sittwe. From Teknaf Port goods can be transported by road to Sabroom which is 300 km away. Sabroom has an Integrated customs border between Bangladesh and Tripura. Sittwe Port and Kaladan Project will immensely benefit Tripura by way of a significant reduction in transportation time and logistics costs.
Shri Sonowal said, “Once fully operationalised, Kaladaan Multi Modal Transport TP will provide alternate connectivity from Eastern coast of India to the North-eastern states through the Sittwe port. 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.
Cost of transportation of goods from Kolkata to Aizwal saw 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, goods from Kolkata to Agartala 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 will be done in 2 days, saving cost and time. In addition to reduction of traffic on the road, the use of marine transport will considerably bring down environmental cost of transport with drop in fossil fuel carbon emission. This is a wonderful thing which will not only help us economically but also environmentally.”
Major cargo for export for Sittwe Port; i.e. exports from Myanmar include Rice, Timber, Fish and seafood, Petroleum products, and Garments and textiles. The major cargo for import for Sittwe Port; i.e. imports by Myanmar include construction materials such as cement, steel, and bricks among others.
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. The Port will open up new opportunities for India’s Northeast as it will be able to use an alternate and more feasible route for trade and transit and also, for Myanmar, particularly the Rakhine State, will further enhance trade and commerce between the two countries and the wider region.
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