Dry Ports, essentials for Myanmar

A worksite at a dry port which is linked with rail route.

“Dry port” is a term with which Myanmar has not been much familiar, but many of the countries in the world including Myanmar’s neighbouring countries have been engaged in the business for long.
According to Wikipedia, a dry port is “an inland intermodal terminal directly connected by road or rail to a seaport and operating as a centre for the transshipment of sea cargo to inland destinations.”
Among many others things the services provided in a dry port include loading and unloading, storing and checking of cargoes, and carrying out Customs procedures. A dry port located on an inland area is a hub for doing business such as administration and management works for different modes of transportation.
A dry port can serve as a place through which cargoes can be transported, no need for traders to gain access to seaports. Like seaports and airports, all services are available at a dry port. If goods are to be transported to a destination of more than 300 kilometers train route should be used, but it is better to use cars for a short distance.
There are many advantages of using train route over motor roads – less fuel consumption, mitigation in carbon emission so that less air pollution and hazardous effects of smokes, avoiding car accidents and traffic jams, less road maintenance cost, etc.
The future of dry port is bright as there may be difficult access to watercourse, and users see that transportation of goods by cars and trains is more beneficial to them.
Goods transportation may involve imports as well as exports, and thus it is important to make sure that when the cargo is passing through our country she must not be a bottleneck.
The followings are the reasons why Myanmar needs to build dry ports:
–    To uplift trade and transportation sector
–    To gain benefits from economic development
–    To grab good opportunities as Myanmar’s location shows a strategic importance and it serves as a focal point of Asia
–    To develop maritime trade and to promote trade with neighbouring countries
–    To achieve opportunities from Greater Mekong Sub-region as Myanmar is a hub of the region and linking China, South China and South East Asia as a bridge
–    To take opportunities from the business of cargo transporting, delivering, receiving and transporting goods by trains as Myanmar lies at the center for trading between China and India
–    To link inland and seaports with the aim of exporting and importing goods in containers
–    To contribute to container service for ensuring effective goods transportation
–    To reduce the paperwork at seaports
–    To promote trade by cooperating with the third party logistics
–    To provide cool chain logistic service as there are high demand for trans-border service through cool storage for vegetables, fruits and marine products
–    To make logistical arrangements in transforming Myanmar’s economy into the market economy
Dry ports can handle all size of cargoes by providing services as in airports and seaports, and as they are located in inland area the following services are available at the dry ports:
–    Arrangements for loading and unloading of containers plus goods storage sheds
–    To put goods into containers and to take out from them
–    To make arrangement for transporting and storing bulky items
–    To provide customs duty service and issue customs clearance
–    To provide services of minor repairs for containers
–    To provide door-to-door service for goods and guarantee goods security
–    To provide banking, insurance and financial services
Dry ports produce the following benefits:
–    Like special economic zones, dry ports contribute much to big international businesses
–    Dry ports as a transit can be used as a centre from where cargoes can be transported through highways
–    Customs clearance works can be conducted near the production and delivery division of the dry port
–    Reducing the risk of damages and loss
–    No need to carry out custom procedures at seaports
–    Reducing the cost of removing empty containers
–    Reducing transportation cost
–    Reducing cost of preparing for bill of landing
–    Expanding trade route among nations
As Myanmar is a member of ASEAN, she is committed to forming ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) together with other fellow members in 2015. For such a time at this, building dry ports, establishing related works in these facilities and starting containerization are fulcra of free flow of goods. Therefore, it can be deduced from the fact that flourishing of dry ports and carrying goods by train is a must to help make a robust economy and transport service of Myanmar.
Myanmar is a party to the Intergovernmental Agreement on Dry Ports in the Asia-Pacific region which was signed on 7 November 2013. It was concluded under the auspices of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). According to this agreement Myanmar submitted a list of possible eight areas for building dry ports – Yangon, Mandalay, Tamu, Muse, Mawlamyine, Bago, Monywa and Pyay.
General characteristics of a dry port to be built in Myanmar are defined as follows:
–    a dry port should be located near hinterland cities or near the capital cities of states or regions;
–    it must be built on Asian Highways or Trans Asian Railway;
–    it must be a centre for producing and consuming and must have easy access to motor roads or railroads;
–    it must be located at the place from which goods are transported to other dry ports, border gates and border areas, customs offices, railway stations, checkpoints, seaports, warehouses of inland water transport and airports are included in the basic principle of the agreement.
With this end in view, eight cities are designated to host dry ports as they are appropriate to build the facilities in Myanmar. Myanma Railways under the Ministry of Transport and Communications is endeavouring to build dry ports in addition to running container trains on Yangon-Mandalay railroad. It also plans to link railroads and ports in Yangon and Thilawa.
Now, arrangements are being made to implement dry port projects in Ywathargyi in Yangon Region and Myitnge in Mandalay Region with the approval of the government. It is sure that dry ports will contribute much to national development through increase in international trade as well as domestic transportation and logistics services.
It is a time to change from traditional way to a system in which state-of-the-art methods are applied in doing business for the country to keep abreast of the world countries.

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