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Myanmar Logistics Infrastructure 

The following sections contain information regarding the logistics infrastructure of Myanmar

Myanmar’s domestic and international connectivity are inadequate for its logistics requirements for the production of goods and the movement of people. Transport links to neighbouring countries are both limited and substandard. In the World Bank’s 2014 Logistics performance index, Myanmar scored the lowest among Southeast Asian countries in overall logistics performance and quality of trade- and transport-related infrastructure.

Roads

Among ASEAN countries, Myanmar’s roads are the most underdeveloped. Although the road network expanded to 148,690 km (92,392 mi) as of March 2012 from 90,713km in 2004, road density remains among the lowest in the region. Only 39% (57,840 km) of the network is paved and 61% (90,850 km) unpaved, with the secondary and local road network generally in poor condition and not passable during the monsoon season. The government of Myanmar has two ministries controlling transportation: Ministry of Rail Transportation and the Ministry of Transport. The Ministry of Construction is responsible for construction and maintenance of roads, bridges and airports. Only 26% of roads (39,083 km) fall under responsibility of the Ministry of Construction.

The main highways are:

  • 1 – 1577 km : Runs from Myawadi (Thai border)-Thaton-Payagyi-Nay Pyi Taw-Meiktila-Mandalay-Gangaw-Kale-Tamu (India border) (AH-1).
  • 2 – 804 km: Runs from Tachileik (Thai border)-Keng Tung-Taunggyi-Meiktila-Mandalay-Gangaw-Kale-Tamu (India border) (AH-2).
  • 3 – 90 km; Runs from AH-2 at Keng Tung-Mongla (PR China border) (AH-3).
  • 4 – 460 km: Runs from Mandalay-Lashio-Muse (PR China border) (AH-14).
  • 5 – 250 km: Runs from Thaton-Mawlamyine-Dawei-Myeik-Kawthaung (AH-112).
  • 6 – 196 km: Runs from Yangon-Kyaunggon-Pathein (Western Union Highway).
  • 7 – 279km: Runs from Yangon-Tharrawaddy-Pyay (Route 2).
  • 8 – 134 km: Runs from Dawei-Sinbhyudaing (Tikee) (to Thai border) (AH-123).

There is one expressway, the Yangon-Mandalay expressway, featuring a double carriageway and four lanes on its entire length of 587km. The government has plans to privatize 82 roads and there is on going privatization of road construction and maintenance. The first phase of a 3,200km highway connecting India, Myanmar and Thailand, the India-Myanmar friendship highway is set to complete by 2016 connecting Guwahati in India to Mandalay in Myanmar.

Ports and inland waterways

Upgrading and rehabilitation is required. For the most part, navigational aids and safety equipment are outdated and need to be modernized. There are nine maritime (sea) ports in Myanmar that fall under the Myanmar Port Authority, from North to South:

  • Rakhine state: Sittwe, Kyaukphyu, Thandwe
  • Ayeryarwaddy Division: Pathein port
  • Yangon Division: Yangon Ports (Asia World Port, Myanmar Industrial Port, Bo Aung Kyaw Port)
  • Mon State: Mawlamyine
  • Tanitharyi region: Dawei, Myeik, Kawthoung

Freight volume in maritime ports was 22m MT in 2012, with most of the freight being handled in the Ports of Yangon (Myanmar Industrial Port, Asia World Port, Bo Aung Kyaw Port). Except Yangon and Kyauk Phyu (deep water) port, all ports have concrete jetties or metal jetties with barges, no fixed structures and still use simple, non-mechanized handling facilities. The port of Yangon can only handle small ship up to 15,000 dead weight tons (DWT) because it does not have deep-water access close to the city. However, the ports are being upgraded and renovations are to be completed in 2015. Thilawa is the biggest port in Yangon located near the Andaman Sea, this port can accommodate larger vessels up to 20,000 DWT

There is construction on-going of deep-water ports and Kyaukphyu in the North (in association with China) and planned in Dawei in the South (in association with Thailand) in special economic zones. However, the main coastal ports at Thandwe, Pathein, Mawlamyine, Myeik and Kawthoung are deteriorating. The government has identified sites in Kalegauk and Bokpyin for the development of ports. Kyaukphyu deep water port can’t be used for commercial vessels. It is being used by a private Chinese company jointly with Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise.

As of 2008, there were 12,800km (7,954 mi) of rivers of which 6,650km are navigable by commercial vessels. Myanmar’s rivers remain an important mode of transport to remote area’s of the country, as of 2011 4.7m tons of cargo was transported by river. The main river Irrawady runs in the center of the country from north to south. Other rivers are the Kaladan, Chindwin, Paunglaung, Salween and Mekong river on the border with Laos. More then 400 river vessels for passengers and freight are state owned by the Department of Inland Water Transport. Dams for hydroelectric power are being constructed on several rivers and tributaries especially in the North-East of the country.

Railways

The rail network, under responsibility of the Ministry of Rail Transportation and operated by state-owned Myanmar Railways, has nearly doubled since 1988, with a total length of 3,722km in 2014, all 1,000mm gauge. This expansion however been done at the cost of regular maintenance. The core railway infrastructure and locomotives and coaches are in poor condition, which has slowed operating speeds and made rides uncomfortable. There are no rail links to adjacent countries and the status of planned cross-border rail connections to China, India and Thailand, as well as the Thanbyuzayet-Three Pagoda pass connection remains uncertain. In 2011 67.6m passengers and 3.3m tons were transported, using 248 passenger trains/day and 21 freight trains/day. The rail capacity includes 386 locomotives, 1,252 passenger coaches and 3,311 freight wagons.

Under the framework for economic and social reform the government has committed to improve the quality of the Yangon-Mandalay-Myitkyina and the Bago-Mawlamyine section. There are existing plans to build a high speed railway to connect Kunming in Southwest China with Vietnam, Lao PDF and Myanmar respectively. Construction on the section connecting to Myanmar, the Dali-Ruili railway, began in May 2011 and is scheduled to take six year.

Airports

Myanmar has a total of 69 airports, of which 27 are operational airports with commercial flights and paved runways, out of these 11 have runways over 10,000 feet (3248m). There are three international airports, Yangon, Mandalay and Naypyitaw International, with adequate facilities to handle larger jets. A new tender was awarded in Oct 2014 to develop Hanthawaddy International airport in Bago region, about 80km from Yangon and there are plans to develop Dawei airport, in Thanintharyi region, into an International airport. Twenty-six international airlines and nine domestic airlines operate regular flights serving 20 regional destinations.

The domestic airlines are: Air Bagan, Air Kanbawza (KBZ), Air Mandalay, Asian Wings, Golden Myanmar airlines, Mann Yadanarpon Airlines, Myanmar Airways, Myanmar Airways International and Yangon airways, including one charter operator FMI air charter

As of 2012, according to the Department of Civil Aviation, there were 3.5m domestic and 2.0m international passengers transported by air. The volume of airfreight is negligible.

 

References:

ADB (publisher) Myanmar unlocking the potential, Aug 2014, Date accessed 21 Nov 2014.

JICA (publisher) Myanmar’s National Transport Master Plan, 24 July 2014, Date accessed 21 Nov 2014.

Ministry of Construction (publisher) Plenary meeting road infrastructure development, 30 Oct 2013,, Date accessed 21 Nov 2014.

World Bank (publisher) Logistics Performance Index 2014, Date accessed 21 Nov 2014.

KPMG (Publisher) Infrastructure in Myanmar, May 2013, Date accessed 21 Nov 2014.

Wikipedia (publisher) Transport in Burma, Date accessed 21 Nov 2014.

COE-DMHA (publisher), Burma (Myanmar) Disaster Management Reference Handbook, May 2014, Date accessed: 19 Nov 2014.