06 September 2014
Local and foreign companies are being sought to bid for construction projects in a special economic zone (SEZ) in Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine, officials said on Saturday.
The Kyaukphyu SEZ will include a 16-metre deep port with a container-handling capacity of 8,000 20-foot equivalent units.
“Tenders will be opened on Sept 15 and we will choose winners by the end of December,” said Maung Maung Thein, a deputy finance minister and vice-chairman of the Kyaukphyu economic zone management committee.
Construction of the industrial zone on 1,500 hectares of Yanbyae island would begin in early 2015, he said. The project is expected to initially cost more than $200 million.
The initial logistics infrastructure will be port-based, with road infrastructure developed at a later stage, the committee said.
Targeted industries for the initial phase are textiles, construction materials, food processing and general manufacturing.
The impoverished western state of Rakhine has experienced frequent sectarian violence between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims, including rioting in 2012 that left more than 160 people dead and tens of thousands homeless.
“We designed the SEZ to create many more jobs here,” Maung Maung Thein said.
Kyaukphyu is one of three major SEZs being developed in Myanmar, along with Thilawa and Dawei. Work is proceeding at Thailawa, which has major Japanese backing, but the Dawei project, in which Thailand is a major participant, has made little prohgress in the past two years.
Kyaukphyu is located closer to India, China and the Myanmar hinterland and features a natural deep-sea port. Thilawa SEZ is located closer to Yangon, while Dawei to the west will be linked with Thailand.
More than half of Myanmar’s offshore oil and gas blocks are located nearer to Kyaukphyu area than to other SEZs.