Friday, May 24th 2024

Indian cargo ship sailing to Sittwe

Nava Thakuria, Guwahati

Narinjara News, 6 May 2023


Flagged off from Kolkata’s Syama Prasad Mookerjee port on a trial run, an Indian cargo ship is sailing towards Sittwe. The newfound sea route should bring a new hope for northeast India, which is expecting an alternative trade route than the 20-kilometer Siliguri corridor.


Inaugurating the ship with 1,000 metric tonnes of cement, India’s junior ports, shipping and waterways minister Shantanu Thakur stated that the imitative will enhance trade, commerce and economic ties with Myanmar.

Sittwe port has been developed with the financial support from New Delhi under the US $ 484 million Kaladan multi-modal transit transport project.  The operationalization of Sittwe port in the Bay of Bengal will pave a new avenue for the deepwater port to become a maritime hub for Myanmar and to enhance regional connectivity.


Thakur commented that the Kaladan project is a live example of the co-operation and
commitments between New Delhi and Naypietaw.


The cargo vessel named MV-ITT LION (V-273) is expected to reach Sittwe on 9 May next. The inaugural shipment will be received by India’s ports, shipping & waterways and Ayush minister Sarbananda Sonowal along with Myanmar government representatives in the ancient Rakhine
port city. Sonowal recently commented that the Kaladan initiative under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi would emerges as a true reflection of the Centre’s Act East policy.

“Once the Kaladan project is made fully operational, it will provide alternate connectivity from the eastern coast to Northeast, which is a far more feasible route for trade and commerce than the existing Siliguri route. It will reduce the cost (and time) of transportation of goods from Kolkata to Aizawl by more than 50%,” said Sonowal.


He also added that the major cargo for export from Myanmar include different types of rice, timber, fish, seafood, garments and textiles, whereas Myanmar may import various construction materials like cement, steel and bricks and others (from India) through Sittwe port.

It is assumed that the vessels will arrive at Sittwe from different sea routes once it becomes operational and the goods will be transported via the Kaladan river towards Paletwa covering 158 kilometer. Then the goods will be carried by trucks (through 109 km two-lane highway via Kaletwa) to enter India through Zorinpui/Lomasu in the southern tip of Mizoram. From the border those goods will arrive in Lawngtlai town (117 km away) connecting National Highway 54.

The latest reports reveal that the dredging in Kaladan to make the vessels transportable was already done. Paletwa water to land terminal has also been given the final touch. The 117 km two-lane road connecting Myanmar border with Lawngtlai is nearly completed.


The land compensation issue raised by some local residents is also addressed. As the situation in Rakhine State is stable (if not peaceful like the entire nation) following a ceasefire with Arakan Army, the Kaladan project is expected to function normally until there is a major breakdown in law-and-order situation in western part of Myanmar.

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