News: KhinYadana, Photo: May Oo Moe
The member of the public and government personnel riding on train carriages with air bag suspension will soon be reaching Nay Pyi Taw. Passengers were checking their baggage in preparation to alight from the train. The new train carriages were quite satisfactory for the riders. However, the riders say travel time and service compared to other transport services show that much still need to be done.
“We want to do a lot for the people. During the two years period of the government, much was done for transport and communications sector including the rail transport. It would be difficult to do everything to the full extent but we did our best,” said Union Minister for Transport and Communications U Thant Sin Maung.
Ma Ma (Myanmar acronym for Myanma Railways or MR) for the people
During the two-year period of the incumbent government, 38 express trains, 60 mail trains, 50 passenger and freight trains and 220 circular trains were operated daily. During fiscal year 2016-2017, a total of 44 million railway passengers were transported said the Union Minister.
“Myitnge Carriages Workshop will construct 21 passenger carriages with air bag suspension and Nay Pyi Taw locomotive factory will produce ten 2000 H.P. locomotives this year,” added the Union Minister.
Furthermore Bago-Mawlamyine-Ye line is being constructed under a four-year plan until 2020 while upgrade of 24 miles section Gyohtaung-Meza and 10 miles section Mawhan-Kadu on Mandalay-Myitkyina line will be conducted under a five-year plan that will start soon it is learnt.
“Ground survey to upgrade Yangon-Pyay line is underway and talks are being conducted with ADB (Asian Development Bank) to obtain loan. 447 bridges along the line has been inspected,” said the Union Minister.
166 miles Yangon-Taungoo section will be completed by 2021 with loan from Japan and the government budget. Installation of signaling equipment in Yangon Central Railway Station is about 90 per cent complete while 59 miles of Yangon circular rail line is being upgraded with loan from Japan and the government budget. It will be completed in 2021.
MR from red to black
Investment in railway is high and is a state owned enterprise that is incurring losses. To reduce the losses, rental of railway areas are being conducted transparently. Restoration this year of the former Myanma Railways headquarters, a symbol of the region, into an international level five star hotel is an example of such rental. Similar rental to businesses were also being conducted under a tender system.
During the two-year period, rentals were made to businesses in Ywathagyi, Myitnge and Botahtaung Township. Railway station area development projects will be conducted under a tender system in Pyu, Chanayethazan, Kyaukse townships, Monywa, Shwebo, Mawlamyine, PyinOoLwin, Bagan and Mandalay Railway station.
Air transport sector
It is quite satisfactory that in fiscal year 2017-2018, construction of an airport that can handle ATR-72 airplanes on Surbung mountain range, Falam Township, Chin State was completed 33.7 per cent said the Union Minister. Upgrade of Yangon International Airport is ongoing while Mandalay International Airport is planned to handle 4,000 tons of freight per year starting from March 2019.
In fiscal year 2016-2017 there were 39,264 landings and 203,294 over flights. In fiscal year 2017-2018, there were 32,362 landings and 277,159 over flights. Air traffic control services was also provided it is learnt.
“During the two-year period ADS-B Station was installed on Coco Island and 24 hours service was provided. VOR Station in Kengtung airport and four AFTN Terminals were installed in Lashio, Tachilek, Sittway and Myeik airports. On passenger side, domestic sector saw 2,609,732 arriving passengers and 2,624,913 departing passengers in 2016 and 2,865,972 arriving and 2,881,205 departing passengers in 2017. In the international arrival, there were 2,017,950 and 2,199,398 passengers in 2016 and 2017 respectively while in the international departure, there were 2,014,561 and 2,181,676 passengers in 2016 and 2017 respectively” said the Union Minister in his explanation about air transport sector.
During the two-year period of the incumbent government, Myitkyina Airport was opened, Lashio, Sittway, Thandwe, Kawthoung and Mawlamyine airports were upgraded, runways on Manaung and Loikaw were extended and preliminary assessment for Bagan-Nyaung U to become an Eco Friendly Green Airport has been done. Construction of a small air strip in Lalengpi will begin this year in September and is planned to be used in 2020.
Waterway transport sector
Along the rivers on the border of the country, Directorate of Water Resources and Improvement of River Systems is constructing revetments so that the country’s lands are not loss to due to river bank erosion.
Buoys and markers are placed in the shipping lanes of inland rivers to guide the inland waterway ships. Dredging and revetment construction are also conducted to improve water flow, prevent river bank erosion and to pump river water for irrigation purpose in Ayeyawady and Chindwin rivers.
Hydrology inspections are conducted before and after bridges are constructed and during the two year period, a total of 70 bridges were inspected.
A project to maintain the banks of Twanty canal was started in 2018 and will complete in 2023. Developing a modern port in Mandalay was also started and will be done until 2020 October it is learnt.
During the two-year period, according to figures obtained from the ministry, the ministry trained 3,954 marine engineers and registered 38 ocean going cargo ships; 64 coastal passenger ships; 1,544 coastal cargo ships; 6,178 inland waterway cargo ships; and 69,207 boats with engine power under 20 H.P.
The Myanmar Coastal and Inland Water Transport Service License Law was amended and a 2017 bill amending the Myanmar Merchant Shipping Act was also submitted to the President said the Union Minister.
During the two-year period, 623 attended Myanmar Mercantile Marine College and 162 were employed.
Similarly 184 mercantile nautical cadets and 202 mercantile marine engineer cadets as well as many trainees to marine courses were trained.
Inland water transport sector
Two vessels Kispanadi(1) and Kispanadi(2) were obtained using the Japanese Yen 500 million provided by the government of Japan. From March 2017, Kispanadi(1) runs the Sittway-Manaung-Kyaukphyu – Taungup route while starting from September 2017, Kispanadi(2) runs the Sittway-Myebon-Kyaukpyu route. It is learnt that plans are being made to have the vessels available for charter. A new fast vessel Kispanadi(3) will also arrive from Japan in 2019 April and Rakhine State routes will be extended with this vessel.
A container barge was constructed with the assistance of Japan International Cooperation Agency. The aim is to transport goods along the Ayeyawady River between Yangon and Mandalay as well as to transport containers between Thilawa Port and Shwe Pyit Tha Shwe Me (Black Gold) port. Yangon Port handles more than 90 per cent of international waterway trade and during the two-year period a total of six wharves were constructed.
At the Thilawa port area, two international standard multi-purpose terminals were constructed with loan from Japan and more than fifty per cent of the work is being completed. A total of 57 cruise ships with more than 28,000 visitors had visited Yangon, Kawthoung and Myeik port Macleod Island it is learnt. According to information from relevant department, US$ 3.6 million is used until 2021 to dredge the Yangon River so that ocean going ships can enter the port with ease.
Construction and maintaining retaining walls for Mayyu Lighthouse was started on December 2017 and Ks. 3,085.77 million was allocated for it in fiscal year 2018-2019. To upgrade and computerize management of port and related services, Port Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) system will become operational in May 2018.
Land transport sector
A total of 1,296,480 vehicles were registered during the two-year period. At the same time a total of 950,989 motorcycle licenses were issued. Registration of vehicles was being extended from a year to a two-year period.
Online booking system for vehicle registration was also started and driving licenses are being arranged to be issued in a smart card format with an imbedded chip. During the two-year period of the incumbent government, 12 vehicle inspection equipments and 16 motorcycle inspection equipments were installed in States, Regions and District (vehicle inspection) offices according to the two-year report of the government.
For the establishment of a fully functional and competitive logistic sector in Myanmar that is environmentally friendly, a National Logistic Master Plan was drawn up with the assistance of JICA in 2016 and it will be completed in March 2018. It will reduce the urban-rural gap as well as help reduce poverty. It is done with an aim to review the projects in the National Transport Master Plan said the Union Minister.
Telecommunication and Information Technology sector
Mobile phone usage in Myanmar had reach 110.44 per cent and during the two-year period, the government had granted license to the fourth operator, Telecom International Myanmar (MyTel) it is learnt.
In the telecommunication sector Universal Service Fund will be used to cover telecommunication network to about 94 per cent of the country’s population and during the five year license period, the population coverage will reach 99 per cent said the Union Minister.
Countrywide, about 40,000 km. of main fiber connection was laid and six Spectrum Monitoring centers were established in Nay Pyi Taw, Yangon and Mandalay to monitor and prevent illegal usage of radio signals. An additional international submarine cable connection and three onland border network connections were made increasing the total bandwidth to more than 300 Gbps. Up to sixteen operators were permitted in the International Gateway (IGW) service explained the Union Minister.
To improve the satellite communication system, an agreement was signed with Intelsat Satellite.
Cheap and good quality C Band 252 MHz and Ku Band 144 MHz was rented through MyanmarSat-1 system and soon, Myanmar owned satellite system MyanmarSat-2 is planned to be implemented with US$ 155.7 million.
Discussions are underway with Hokkaido University of Japan to put into orbit a 50 kg. Earth Observing Satellite (EOS) that can take photographs. In the two-year period more than 800 personnel from union level organizations, ministries and CIO were provided with ICT trainings for development of e-Government system and cyber security. To be in line with market economy, Myanmar Telecom is planned to be transformed into a state owned corporation said the Union Minister.
Myanma Post is conducting financial services with banks and Mobile Money for online shopping, airplane and bus ticket sale, single day and 24-hour delivery it is learnt.
Issuing of commemorative stamps on the occasion of Independence Day, Union Peace Conference, hosting of ASEAN meetings, anniversary of ministry and special edition stamps honouring Myanmar xylophone and harp were also learnt to be made.
Meteorology and Hydrology sector
During the two-year period of the incumbent government, 80 sets of Automatic Weather Observation System (AWOS) and ten automatic water level measuring machine were being installed in six states and regions where the most flooding occurs as per World Bank emergency response programme and the installation were close to completion it is learnt.