Muse border traders expect abolition of driver-substitution system

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Myanmar has opened five border trade posts with China: Muse, Lweje, Kampaiti, Chinshwehaw and Kengtung. The majority of the trade is carried out through the Muse border.

Truck owners are calling for an end to the driver-substitution system in Muse border like Lweje.
Prior to 16 May 2022, China banned Myanmar trucks and drivers to enter its side owing to the COVID-19 protocols and only Chinese short-haul drivers were allowed to transport the goods. Thereafter, Myanmar trucks are given the go-ahead for border-crossing through the Kyinsankyawt-Wang Ding trade channel under the driver-substitution system starting from 16 May 2022.
“We cannot use our vehicles for transport. Only the driver-substitution system is allowed for now. This system is expected to put an end only when Mang Wein and other borders linking to the Muse border are reopened,” said U Min Thein, vice-chair of Muse Rice Wholesale Centre.
On 10 December 2022, the driver-substitution system was abolished at the Lweje crossing for cross-border trade between Myanmar and China. That is why traders and truck owners engaged in the Muse border trade zone are anticipating it.
At present, there is no responsibility and accountability if goods are damaged under the driver-substitution system. Therefore, Myanmar exporters choose short-haul driver services and bear high freight costs.
“We have to let Chinese drivers drive our trucks. There are problems like tyre defects, damage and car battery theft. So, freight forwarders are forced to hire short-haul drivers due to a lack of guarantee in the driver-substitution system. If this system is cancelled, we can directly go on the China side and save high short-haul driver costs,” U Min Thein elaborated.
Furthermore, it will ease traffic and facilitate trade, truck owners said.
China shut down all crossings linking to the Muse border amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the checkpoints, Kyinsankyawt has resumed trading activity from 26 November 2021. Myanmar daily delivers rice, broken rice, pulses, rubber, watermelon, fishery products, chilli pepper and other food commodities to China through Kyinsankyawt with about 100 trucks and building materials, electrical appliances, pharmaceuticals, fertilizer, household goods and industrial raw materials are imported into the country with 40 trucks.
Myanmar has opened five border trade posts with China: Muse, Lweje, Kampaiti, Chinshwehaw and Kengtung. The majority of the trade is carried out through the Muse border, the Ministry of Commerce’s data indicated. —NN/EMM

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