Multi-purpose container barge service starts

The Ministry of Transport and Communications has started the Inland Water Transport (IWT), a multi-purpose container barge service to transport goods along the Ayeyarwady River and containers in the Yangon River. The service was started to reduce transportation costs and relieve congestion on the road.

Ten trips with 40 containers per trip were transported by container barges and tugboats along the river between Myanmar International Terminals Thilawa (MITT) and Shwe Me port, Shwepyitha Township from March 9 to April 7 on a trial run beginning on 11 May. Riverine transport of containers greatly reduces traffic congestion on Yangon roads caused by the container cars and will reduce costs and transport time.

In the past, goods were packed in sacks and boxes of varying sizes and manually loaded and unloaded onto vessels in riverine transport. Using containers, barges and machinery are effective in reducing cost and time and the project to transport containers in barges is important work for IWT. The multi-purpose container barge project was implemented with the support of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and IWT and SA Marine Company, which signed an agreement on 23 December 2014 to build the container barge. The SA Marine Company ordered the Myanmar Shipyards on 25 March 2015 to build the 60-metre long, 15-metre wide, 3-metre deep container barge with a draught of 1-1.7 metres that can carry up to 22 by 40-foot containers.

Myanmar Shipyard and Myanmar-Vietnam Shipyard completed construction of the container barge using Japanese technology on 30 October 2015 and transferred the vessel to IWT on 31 October 2015 after obtaining a container barge license. The multi-purpose container barge cost Ks4,040 lakh.

A preliminary summer trial run was conducted by loading and unloading containers at Shwe Me port, Shwepyitha. Then 18 empty containers were transported along Ayeyarwady river to Semikhon Jetty in Mandalay Region and back in March 2016.
A rainy season trail run was conducted by transporting four loaded and 14 empty containers from Yangon to Mandalay and back in June 2016.

A lack of container handling facilities in the ports along the Ayeyarwady River prompted the requirement to prioritise ports development for the container transport system to succeed.

To exchange and share the experience of constructing the container barge using Japanese technology and the process of transporting containers, SA Marine Co., Ltd held a seminar at Park Royal Hotel on 16 July 2016 that was attended by Japanese businesses, transport businesses in Myanmar and representatives of government departments under the Ministry of Transport and Communication.

Construction of modern jetties and ports are important for the development of inland water transport and the flow of goods along the Ayeyarwady River. A coordinating meeting between JICA and the Ministry of Transport and Communication on a Mandalay port development project that is to be implemented with the Japanese government’s grant aid was held in 15 May 2017.

Matters relating to locations to construct jetties, works and cooperation on Ayeyarwady River Basin Management project, works on managing ports and upgrading performance of staffs were discussed and meeting minutes were signed.
The final result of all these activities will be reduction of cost and time, officials said. The sector of transporting goods by container is expected to develop quickly.

Source: Global New Light of Myanmar

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