Yangon’s plan to build dry port in the east waylaid by parliament concerns

The Yangon government’s plan to launch two logistics projects in the outskirts of the city to relief traffic congestion downtown has been met with parliament resistance.

The Ngwe Pin Le Integrated Logistics Zone and IWT Jetty Link Dry Port Project are now being established across 194 acres of land near Ngwe Pin Le industrial zone in Hlaing Thar Yar township.

Construction of the two projects, estimated to require an investment of K151 billion, will begin this year and take three years to complete. The regional government has already set up a separate vehicle – Yangon Metropolitan Development Public Co (YMD) – to manage the projects, Daw Ni Lar Kyaw, regional minister of Electricity, Industry and Transportation and a director of YMD, said during a regional parliament session in June.

YMD, which was incorporated in March 2017, is 91 percent-owned by the Yangon government. The remaining 9pc is held by several companies, including the Myanmar Construction Development Public Co, said U Shein Win, chair of Myanmar Construction Entrepreneurs Association and director of YMD.

The other directors of YMD are U Myint Thaung, the regional minister of planning and finance, and U Win Aung, chair of Myanmar Agro Exchange.

The major objective of the two projects is to decrease traffic in the city. Currently, 70 percent of goods from the Hlaing Thar Yar and Shwe Pyi Thar industrial zones east of Yangon are transported by truck over a 40-mile route across the city to Thilawa port in the west, causing major congestion on the roads.

With a new logistics depot and dry port established near the industrial zones in the east, businesses would save on substantially on transport. Meanwhile, traffic on the roads would also be reduced.

The YMD first introduced the project to investors in April and again on July 5. Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein also promoted the project during the Yangon Investment Forum in May. The YMD in May also invited the private sector to invest in the dry port project under a Build, Operate and Transfer arrangement. Tenders will close by the end of this month.

Parliament inertia

Yet, members of the regional parliament have been reluctant to support the project. “We are still considering and weighing the pros and cons of this project,” said U Kyaw Zeya, regional parliament representative.

Daw Sandar Min, chair of the Committee for Financing, Planning and Economy under the regional parliament, said the “Ngwe Pin Le project must be resubmitted with a detailed investment plan and listing the benefits to the economy and residents. We hope to see this project resubmitted with the necessary details during the next Hluttaw session,” she said.

One of the concerns is the government’s lack of experience in developing the dry port and jetty, said U Shein Win. But this is where YMD’s partnership with the private sector comes to play.

“The government can rely on the experience of Myanmar Construction Development Public Co to do the job. Meanwhile, its role in the project will be supervisory,” he said, adding that procedures for the construction of the port will be listed and explained soon.

The other concern is how much the government will end up incurring to get the work done. Similar concerns have also emerged in relation to the government’s involvement in the New Yangon City Development project. As far as the jetty and dry port projects are concerned at least, public funds will not be deployed. “Investors in YMD will provide the finances needed,” U Shein Win said.

Source: Myanmar Times

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