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NEWS UPDATES 26 July 2010

Opportunities in Burma-Thai Dawei port

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A Burmese-Thai joint development project to build the Dawei (Tavoy) deep-sea port has sparked hope of growth in logistical and transport links beyond the two countries' borders.

When complete, the Dawei seaport in southwestern Burma will be able to take ships of 300,000 tonnes, says Sing Tangcharoenchaichana, president of the industrial council of the Thai central region.

Public and private interests in the central and western provinces have rallied behind the project, he says.

The support comes after the proposed Pak Bara and Songkhla deep-sea ports - and a plan to build a land bridge between these future ports - failed to win approval by the office of the National Economic and Social Development Board.

The NESDB has recommended the government scrap the projects, leaving the Dawei seaport as the only hope for development in the area.

The port fits in well with Greater Mekong Sub-region schemes for developing economic routes in the region, observers say.

The routes comprise the East-West Economic Corridor, the Southern Economic Corridor, and the North-South Economic Corridor.

The first sub-route will run from Danang in Vietnam to Mawlamyaing (Moulmein) in Burma, the second sub-route from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to Dawei, and the third sub-route from Kunming in China to Bangkok.

The Dawei seaport will boost Thailand's hopes of becoming a centre of communication between the western and eastern sides of the region, says Mr Sing.

The development will be carried out in three phases.

The first phase is construction of a highway that will link Kanchanaburi to Dawei.

Construction of the 160km highway will take about four years and cost two billion baht.

The second phase will be construction of the Dawei seaport and the last phase, construction of an industrial estate, likely to be the largest in the region.

The industrial estate will be built on a 200,000 rai plot of land, and cost 40 billion baht.

It will encompass six zones: Port and Heavy Industry; Oil and Gas Industry; Upstream Petrochemical Complex; Downstream Petrochemical; Medium Industry; and Light Industry.

The estate will benefit Thailand's logistics, the agro-industry and tourism, says Mr Sing.

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