Myanmar Thilawa port to expand

Myanmar Thilawa port to expand

Japan’s Toyo Construction Co. and JFE Engineering Corp. have won a contract to build a new container terminal at the Port of Thilawa near Yangon, Myanmar, to expand one of the country’s key logistics hubs.

The new terminal is needed to handle more large ships and meet growing demand and will have an annual capacity of 187,000 twenty-foot-equivalent units when it is completed in the autumn of 2018, according to the Japan International Cooperation Agency, a government-affiliated aid organ.

The scope of work by the Japanese duo involves the removal of 208,000 cubic meters of sediment and construction of an 18-hectare container yard, and two jacket-type berths with depths of 10 meters (32 feet), lengths of 400 meters and widths of 40 meters.

The companies behind the project recently signed the approximately 13.8 billion yen ($118 million) contract with the Myanmar Port Authority, Toyo Construction said on Thursday.

The project will be funded by low-interest, official yen loans that are part of Japan’s official development assistance program for developing countries. 

Yangon is Myanmar’s largest city and former capital, but the government has decided to expand the Port of Thilawa because the Port of Yangon, a river port, is not deep enough to receive large container ships.

The Port of Thilawa can currently receive vessels of up to 20,000 deadweight tons. “The new container terminal at the Port of Thilawa will be able to receive two ships of up to 20,000 DWT at the same time,” a Toyo Construction spokesman said.

Thilawa is home to Myanmar’s first special economic zone, which formally opened for business in September 2015 as a large-scale joint project between Myanmar and Japan.

Nippon Express Co., Japan’s largest international freight forwarder, set up its second Myanmar subsidiary in the Thilawa SEZ in December, further strengthening its footprint in the increasingly promising Southeast Asian market.

The Tokyo-based company, also known as Nittsu in Japan, established Nittsu Logistics Myanmar Co. and will also build a new warehouse in the Thilawa SEZ.

Nippon Express established its first Myanmar subsidiary, Nippon Express (Myanmar) Co., in Yangon in December 2014, joining a growing army of Japanese transportation, logistics and other firms aiming to cash in on what is widely seen as Asia’s last frontier market.

As Myanmar emerges from years of international isolation and economic sanctions, it has drawn growing attention from foreign investors as the last economic frontier in Asia. Myanmar is rich in natural resources, has a relatively large population of about 51 million and is also sandwiched between China and India, the world’s two most populous countries. 

Myanmar has the potential to become a lucrative consumer market in the future if its economy develops smoothly and its people’s income grows. Thanks to its cheap labor, Myanmar has also attracted growing attention as an investment destination from Japanese and other foreign manufacturing companies that are reviewing their production and sourcing strategies in Asia amid rising labor costs in China.

Contact Hisane Masaki at yiu45535@nifty.com.