Myanmar Invites Bids for Kyaukphyu Port Construction

Construction News Myanmar
A Chinese-owned oil refinery plant on Made Island off Kyaukphyu, Rakhine State. / AFP

Myanmar Invites Bids for Kyaukphyu Port Construction

Myanmar’s regime is inviting bids to construct a deep seaport at Kyaukphyu in Rakhine State as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

A special economic zone committee chaired by the junta’s commerce minister, Tun Ohn, said applicants should have at least 10 years’ experience in business or five years working in infrastructure development with a dispensation available for ethically Rakhine citizens.

Applicants needed an annual turnover of at least $20 million over the past three years and to invest at least $5 million in the project, the junta’s Ministry of Commerce announced.

Companies can apply until December 15.

The Kyaukphyu port and special economic zone are key to the 1,700km China-Myanmar Economic Corridor connecting Kunming in Yunnan province to the Indian Ocean.

The Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone has been budgeted at US$1.3 billion and the port project at $7.3 billion across 150 hectares on Maday Island and 96 hectares on Ramree Island.

There have been an increasing number of visits by Chinese representatives to Naypyitaw in recent months.

China’s public security minister Wang Xiaohong visited Naypyitaw on October 31 and met junta chief Min Aung Hlaing. China’s deputy foreign minister Nong Rong visited the junta’s foreign minister Than Swe at the weekend to reportedly discuss BRI projects.

He also visited the oil and gas pipelines, which link Yunnan with the Indian Ocean.

Observers said the opening of the Kyaukphyu bidding process suggested the junta is keen to secure China’s approval.

Economist U Moe: “China wishes to push the junta to develop the BRI projects. The projects in Kyaukphyu are very important to China. However, the junta cannot proceed at great speed because it faces many other challenges throughout the country.”

Kyaukphyu is one of several Chinese-backed mega-projects in Myanmar, along with New Yangon City, the Mee Lin Gyaing energy project in Ayeyarwady Region and the Letpadaung copper mine in Sagaing Region.

Kyaukphyu residents say they have not been consulted about the project.