Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to commence studies for deep-sea port at Myanmar’s Dawei SEZ
The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will commence preliminary studies for the construction of a deep-sea port at Dawei Special Economic Zone (SEZ) this year, officials of the Dawei SEZ Committee said.
“JICA first proposed the study in December 2019 but the process was waylaid by COVID-19. But we discussed the subject again on May 21,” said U Myint San, vice chair of the Dawei SEZ Committee.
He added that the process will begin this year, after the monsoon season. “We will study the water levels, waves and sea conditions for the port, which is to be part of the SEZ. We also urge interested investors to participate in the initial studies,” he said.
Development of the Dawei SEZ with the aim of transforming the coastal area into Southeast Asia’s largest industrial zone was initially awarded to the Italian-Thailand Development Company (ITD) in 2008. But the project failed to take off because of financial, technological and marketing shortcomings and the contract was revoked in 2013.
The project was later reduced from 200 sq km to just 27 sq km. While ITD is still involved, other investors are also being asked to bid for the development of other parts of the project, including the port.
The Thai government had also agreed to provide a loan for the construction of a two-lane highway which will connect Dawei SEZ to the Myanmar-Thailand border.
U Tin Htoo Naing, secretary of the Dawei SEZ Committee, said investors from Asia have shown interest in project despite COVID-19. Last October, investors were invited to survey the site for the SEZ to gauge their interest in developing the SEZ. These include investors from Singapore, India, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Korea, Vietnam, Australia and even local Myanmar companies.
In February, U Myint San, vice chair of Dawei SEZ Management Committee, told The Myanmar Times that a state-owned Chinese firm had expressed interest to invest in Dawei SEZ and that talks with ITD as well as the Japan and Thai governments to kick start development are at advanced stages.
“Unfortunately, the pandemic occurred at a time when international investors are especially interested in Dawei SEZ and so, procedures were delayed,” U Tin Htoo Naing said.
He added that Myanmar is strategically important for investors and that interest in the SEZ is expected to increase quickly after COVID-19. – Translated