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Decades-old ships cause IWT navigable transportation capacity decrease

Inland Water Transport’s ferry on the Ayeyawady River.—
Inland Water Transport’s ferry on the Ayeyawady River.—

Yangon, 15 Oct—Inland Water Transport urgently needs to replace its decades-old ships running along the navigable waterways with modern and faster ones to recover from its losses.
The number of navigable transportation service routes operated by IWT has been spirally decreased as the state-owned decades-old ships have caused delays and higher costs and cannot compete with modern ones run by private entrepreneurs, according the ministry.
IWT has been operating passenger cum freight services and ferry services, along the navigable waterways in Myanmar with a fleet of over 400 ships and cargos including 225 powered vessels, 138 passenger-cum cargo ships, 27 cargos, 30 powered barge, one water tender, 22 Tugs, one oil tanker, 149 non-powered vessels, 138 cargo barge, 11 oil barge and 39 station pontoons, according to the last year statistics of Ministry.
Meanwhile, Inland Water Transport, which has been operating its transportation services at losses, is facing challenges for transforming its services from public service to commercial basis with its decades-old ships and to be able to stand on its own budget after the new government adopted a new policy.
“The policy has been changed. But, still, we cannot change our old ships yet. We have to stop some of our navigable transportation services,” said an official of the IWT.
To be able to build passenger and cargo ships including vessels for transportation services along coastal lines, IWT needs to carry out reforms, running its services with joint venture, an official said.
IWT had been operating its transportation at losses and at affordable prices for the people for decades thanks to the budget allocation from the successive governments.—By Aye Min Soe

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