Water express tender imminent

The Yangon Region government will call a tender before the end of this month for private companies interested in providing river transport services, U Maung Aung, secretary of the Yangon Region Transport Authority (YRTA), said.

The regional government’s chief minister U Phyo Min Thein announced atransport reform initiative covering roads, railways and waterways in July. The bolstering of river transport services is designed to reduce transportation costs and traffic jams on roads, said U Maung Aung.

YRTA will call a tender to provide a waterway express and taxi service to carry cargo and commuters. The transport authority will also work to upgrade port services, U Maung Aung added. The transport body is planning to start water express transport services on the Hlaing and Yangon rivers, and Nag Moe Yeik creek.

“We hope to start the service in October and so we’ll call the tender this month,” he said, adding that local and international firms would be able to collaborate to apply.

State-owned Inland Water Transport (IWT) – which operates under the Ministry of Transport and Communications – will be in charge of issuing a licence to operate the express system, and making sure safety regulations are met, he told The Myanmar Times previously.

The government is also planning to reform the loss-making IWT, which has long held a monopoly on waterway transport – in earlier years an import source of movement for passengers and freight.

The Yangon administration is hoping that waterways can once again become a key transport route for cargo ships and container barges, said IWT managing director U Zaw Win.

“We will arrange to carry cargo on special container barges directly to industrial zones,” he said. “By doing so, we’ll also help reduce traffic jams. The Yangon Region government will handle the commuter express and taxi service, but we’ll cooperate if needed.

According to a five-year business plan drawn up by the government, IWT will construct three container barges a year.


Source: The Myanmar Times

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