The Sittwe Port in Myanmar, built with a $500m grant from India, is only able to handle small general cargo vessels. The port is primarily used to transport rice, timber and pulses destined for Yangon, but it is hoped that its opening will boost trade between India and Myanmar and provide new economic opportunities for the northeastern Indian states of Mizoram and Tripura. However, until the 109 km dual-lane highway between Paletwa and Zorinpuri is constructed, access to the Bay of Bengal via Sittwe will be incomplete. The opening of the port should facilitate trade in rupees and give new impetus to value chains in the northeast.
The Bay of Bengal region relies heavily on sea transportation, and short sea shipping has increased opportunities for ports such as Sittwe. Other ports in the region include Kyaukphyu, Thilawa, Pathein and Myeik in Myanmar, and Matarbari in Bangladesh. Greater cooperation between ports in the region could result in improved port performance. The Sittwe Port’s operationalization is an achievement, but its benefits will be greater once the Kaladan project is fully operational, which will give northeastern Indian states full access to the Bay of Bengal.
Tags: BIMSTEC Connectivity,Kaladan Multimodal Project,Northeast India,Sittwe Port