Ports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal will be present to welcome the first Indian cargo ship arriving at Myanmar’s Sittwe Port on May 9. During a press conference in Assam’s Dibrugarh, Sonowal stated that this will mark the beginning of regular cargo ship movement between Kolkata Port and Sittwe Port, which will significantly boost the economic potential of the entire Bay of Bengal region.
The inaugural cargo ship, carrying 1,000 metric tonnes of cement in 20,000 bags, was initiated from Kolkata on Thursday by Union MoS for Ports Shantanu Thakur.
The construction of Sittwe Port in Myanmar’s Rakhine state has been funded by India as part of the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project (KMTTP).
Sonowal stated, “We have successfully expedited the construction of Sittwe port in Myanmar to enhance trade opportunities for Northeast India in the coming years.”
In addition to benefiting India and Myanmar, this port will also create significant commercial opportunities for Bangladesh, Bhutan, and even Nepal, as it acts as a bridge connecting South Asia and Southeast Asia.
Sittwe Port has been developed based on an agreement between India and Myanmar for the construction and operation of a multimodal transit transport facility on the Kaladan River, linking Sittwe Port with Mizoram.
The port connects to Paletwa in Myanmar through an inland waterway and then from Paletwa to Zorinpui in Mizoram via road.
Once fully operational, KMTTP will offer an alternative connectivity route from India’s eastern coast to the northeastern states via the Sittwe Port, according to Sonowal.
He added, “This route will be more feasible for trade and commerce compared to the existing route through Siliguri to Kolkata, as it will save time, money, and ensure efficiency.”
Furthermore, the use of marine transport will not only reduce road traffic but also bring down the environmental cost of transportation by reducing fossil fuel carbon emissions, Sonowal explained.
The main exports from Sittwe Port will include rice, timber, fish and seafood, petroleum products, garments, and textiles. The major imports will consist of construction materials such as cement, steel, and bricks.