YANGON — Japan has agreed to provide Myanmar with grant aid of up to 6.03 billion yen ($53 million) to help the emerging economy modernize its key commercial inland port.
Under the grant agreement with the Japan International Cooperation Agency, Myanmar plans to build berthing facilities and mechanize cargo handling at a river port in Mandalay, the country’s second-largest city, as part of its efforts to develop the northern economic zone, Tokyo’s development aid arm said.
The port, located along the Irrawaddy River, plays a key role in carrying passengers and cargoes of goods like rice, lumber and construction materials between Mandalay and Yangon, the country’s largest city.
But it lacks berthing and mooring facilities, with cargoes carried manually on wooden planks when crossing from the natural riverbank to ships, according to JICA.
The upgraded port is expected to mechanically handle up to 200,000 tons of cargo annually out of the current total manual capacity of 800,000 tons per year, JICA said. The mechanization will also increase the hourly cargo-handling efficiency by six times to 100 tons from 17 tons and slash the ship mooring time to a range of six to 24 hours from the existing period of about two weeks.
JICA will support and oversee a 33-month process of designing, bidding, procuring materials and building a 180-meter-long pier, a container terminal, a warehouse and an office among other facilities. Cranes, forklifts, tractor trailers and chassis will be installed for more efficient cargo handling operation.
JICA said the project “is not likely to have a significant adverse impact on the environment.”