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Special Content

Issue no 08, 20- 26 May 2023

Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project



Development Cooperation has been a prominent feature in India's overall bilateral engagement with Myanmar. India's involvement and engagement in Myanmar extend from the setting up of major connectivity infrastructure to significant initiatives in establishing long-term, sustainable and relevant institutions for capacity building and human resource development in critical areas such as agricultural research, education, IT, skill development, etc. Recognising the vital role that the transportation sector plays in the accelerated economic growth, the Government of India placed a high priority in this sector's development to meet the current and future highway transportation needs. An agreement was reached between the Governments of India and Myanmar in April 2008 to develop a multimodal trade route (means of transport consisting of sea, inland water, roads & railways and land) between the two countries and to facilitate implementation of the project. The Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project (KMTTP) is perhaps the most significant project undertaken by India in Myanmar. This project was jointly identified by India and Myanmar to create a multi-modal mode of transport for shipment of cargo from the eastern ports of India to Myanmar as well as to the North-Eastern part of India through Myanmar. This project, which connects the Sittwe Port in Myanmar to the India-Myanmar border, will contribute to the economic development of the Northeastern States of India, by opening up the sea route for the products. In a major step towards enhancing trade and commerce between India and Myanmar, the inaugural cargo ship was flagged off from Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port in Kolkata to the Sittwe Port in Myanmar on May 5, 2023. On May 9, 2023, Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal visited the Sittwe Port in the Rakhine state of Myanmar which he jointly inaugurated with the Deputy Prime Minister & Union Minister for Transport & Communication of Myanmar, Admiral Tin Aung San, as they received the first Indian cargo ship at the port. The Sittwe port has been built with grant assistance from the Government of India as part of this Transport Project. The route is expected to unlock tremendous economic potential for the entire Bay of Bengal peninsula, allowing a bridge between South Asia and South East Asia regions. The project is in line with India's 'Act East Policy' which aims to promote economic cooperation, cultural ties and develop strategic relationships with countries in the Asia-Pacific region by providing enhanced connectivity to the States of North Eastern Region with other countries in our neighbourhood. The policy provides an interface between North Eastern India including the State of Arunacha Pradesh and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) region. The KMTTP will serve as one of the most important corridors for freight movement between the two countries. The project includes a waterway component of 158 km on Kaladan River from Sittwe to Paletwa and a road component of 109 km from Paletwa to Zorinpui on the IndiaMyanmar border in Mizoram State. It also provides a strategic link to the North-East, thereby reducing pressure on the Siliguri Corridor. KMTTP comprises four sections - from India to Sittwe Port via maritime shipping, from Sittwe to Paletwa via Kaladan river, from Paletwa to IndoMyanmar border and from India border to NH via road. In the absence of an alternate route, the development of this project not only serves the economic, commercial and strategic interests of India, but also contributes to the development of Myanmar, and its economic integration with India. Since the project is of political and strategic significance, it was decided to execute it through India's grant assistance to Myanmar.

Connectivity with the Northeast India: The development of the port has various benefits for India. The route is a far more feasible route for the trade and commerce of Northeast India than the existing route via Siliguri to Kolkata, saving time and money and excelling in efficiency. The cost of transportation of goods from Kolkata to Aizawl is envisioned to drop by more than 50 per cent in both cost and time when the cargo is sent from Kolkata to Sittwe onto Paletwa, and after that via road to Aizawl and the whole of Northeast India. The port will also provide an alternative route for India to access Southeast Asia.

From Paletwa in Myanmar to Zorinpui in Mizoram: The Sittwe port connects to Paletwa in Myanmar through an inland waterway and from Paletwa to Zorinpui in Mizoram through a road component.

From Sittwe, Myanmar to Sarboom, Tripura: Goods from Kolkata to Sittwe Port can be shipped to Teknaf Port, Bangladesh which is just 60 nautical miles off Sittwe. From Teknaf Port goods can be transported by road to Sabroom which is 300 km away. Sabroom has an integrated customs border between Bangladesh and Tripura. Sittwe port and Kaladan Project will immensely benefit Tripura by way of significant reduction in transportation time and logistics cost.


The proposed trade route between the two countries will serve as a major intra and inter regional trade route, economically and culturally. It will also serve as one of the most important corridors for freight movement between the two countries. The proposed transport connectivity will also help in socio economic development of the north eastern region of India by allowing cargo to be transported from Kolkata, Haldia and other foreign ports via the ports of Sittwe/Kaletwa by coastal shipping , inland water transport and road transport modes with cheaper cost and vice versa. Once the proposed trade route is completed and put into use it will greatly boost the trade between the two neighbourning countries, viz. India and Myanmar. Major cargo for export for Sittwe Port, i.e., exports from Myanmar include Rice, Timber, Fish and Seafood, Petroleum Products and Garments and Textiles. The major cargo for import for Sittwe Port, i.e. imports by Myanmar include construction materials such as cement, steel and bricks among others. The port route will unlock huge commercial potential for the entire Bay of Bengal peninsula, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal by acting as a bridge with Southeast Asia. Notably, the use of marine transport will considerably bring down the environmental cost of transport with a drop in fossil fuel carbon emissions Image links: https://pbs.twimg. com/media/FvruOJ7XsAAw9zh? format=jpg&name=medium https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Fvr uQXjWYAAz6lf?format=jpg& name=900x900 https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Fvr uPlfWAAAsQm9?format=jpg& name=medium


Compiled by: Annesha Banerjee & Anuja Bhardwajan


Source: PIB/DONER/mizoram. gov.in