Myanmar in talks over port project with China consortium

YANGON • Myanmar is negotiating with a Chinese consortium to develop a strategic deep-sea port in western Rakhine state as part of the planned special economic zone in the region, according to a report of the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper yesterday.

The negotiation between Myanmar's Commerce Ministry and the China International Trust and Investment Corporation (Citic) is expected to reach an agreement soon.

The Kyaukphyu deep-sea port project represents part of the economic corridor of China's Belt and Road Initiative and the two countries are approaching this in a way to ensure it becomes a win-win situation all round, said Myanmar Minister of Commerce Than Myint.

The project will bring about the development of Rakhine state, the emergence of job opportunities for local people and the development of the country, said Dr Than Myint.

A consortium of six group companies, led by China's Citic, won the tender in December 2015 for the implementation of two projects, an industrial park and a deep-sea port on 1,737ha of land, two of the three components of the project of the Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone.

The Citic Consortium comprises China Harbour Engineering Company, China Merchants Holdings (International), Teda Investment Holding and Yunnan Construction Engineering Group. Thailand's Charoen Pokphand Group is also part of the consortium.

The Citic Consortium will form project joint ventures together with Myanmar local enterprises for the construction and operation of the two projects, which will be implemented under the framework of the Myanmar Special Economic Zone Law promulgated by government in 2014.

The deep-sea port project consists of the Madae Island Terminal and Yanbye Island Terminal, with 10 berths in total. It also includes a road and a bridge connecting the industrial park and the deep-sea port. The project will be constructed in four phases over 20 years.

Myanmar's Parliament voiced support for the special economic zone project, saying that it would be beneficial for the economic growth of the country, particularly for that of Rakhine state.

Citic Consortium, meanwhile, said the special economic zone development would improve employment and livelihood of the locals as more than 100,000 new jobs will be created for them every year.

By 2025, 90 per cent of the project managers' positions will be undertaken by locals. Once in full operation, the two projects will bring about US$10 billion (S$13.6 billion) in annual gross domestic product growth for Myanmar.

According to the plan, the Myanmar government will accumulatively receive US$15 billion of tax revenue from the two projects during the whole concession period. When the concession period expires, both projects will be handed over to the Myanmar government.

XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 09, 2018, with the headline 'Myanmar in talks over port project with China consortium'. Print Edition | Subscribe