Myanmar Consolidated Media
Education feature story
60th Anniversary of Indonesia~Myanmar

Dawei deep-sea port, SEZ gets green light

By Thein Linn
November 15 - 21, 2010

DAWEI port in Tanintharyi Region is set to become a major international communications and trading hub as a multibillion-dollar project takes shape.

Mr Anan Amarapala, vice-president of Italian-Thai Development, Thailand’s biggest construction company, signed a US$8.6 billion contract with Myanmar’s government to build a deep-sea port and industrial estate at Dawei, Bloomberg News reported on November 4.

Eventually, Dawei could be at the hub of trade connecting Southeast Asia and the South China Sea, via the Andaman Sea, to the Indian Ocean, receiving goods from countries in the Middle East, Europe and Africa, and spurring growth in the whole ASEAN region, industry sources say.

Italian-Thai Development signed the framework agreement to develop the project with the Myanmar Port Authority, under the Ministry of Transport, in Nay Pyi Taw on November 2.

The project involves the development of Dawei as a deep-sea port and a 250-square-kilometre industrial estate with sea, road and rail links with Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

The proposed industrial estate will contain a steel mill, fertiliser plant, power plant, petrochemical industries, an oil refinery, shipbuilding and ship maintenance yards and other utility services, as well as a pipeline linking Dawei to Pu Nam Ron in Thailand’s Kanchanaburi Province.

There will also be residential and commercial developments, a tourist resort and a recreation complex, the company said.

The 60-year agreement can be extended by mutual consent.

The first step is to build a cross-border road from Dawei to Pu Nam Ron. The rest of the project will then be implemented in three phases over the next 10 years.

The Dawei project is the first-ever Special Economic Zone in Myanmar, the state-run The New Light of Myanmar newspaper said on November 3.

A total of 25 vessels ranging from 20,000 to 50,000 tonnes will be able to berth at 22 wharfs simultaneously in the north and south ports, which together will be able to handle 100 million metric tonnes of goods a year, the newspaper said.

A power station that can generate 4000 megawatts will be built as part of the project, which will also include a dam that can store 219 million cubic metres of water and a purifying plant that can supply 975,000 cubic metres of water a day.

The 170km eight-lane highway and rail link from Dawei to the Thai border will eventually be extended through the Greater Mekong sub-regional southern corridor to Vung Tau and Quy Nhon in Vietnam via Sisophon, Cambodia, and Bangkok.

Oil and natural gas pipelines will be laid parallel to the road and railway, the report said.

The planned project would be 10 times bigger than Thailand’s main port and industrial estate, according to Mr Tanit Sorat, vice chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce. According to Bloomberg News, Nippon Steel, Japan’s largest steel maker, and PTT, Thailand’s largest energy company, are among the companies considering investing in the project. Mr Sorat said last month: “Many Thai and foreign companies would like to be involved in the Dawei project as developers or investors.”

At a special meeting of ASEAN Foreign Affairs Ministers held in Singapore on May 19, 2008, the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Myanmar and Thailand signed an agreement to go ahead with the Dawei project.

“This project will profit traders from Myanmar and Thailand. Because of the link to the ASEAN highway system, Myanmar’s raw materials can flow to regional market smoothly and quickly,” said a senior official from the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry.