BANGKOK- The development of a deep-sea port in Dawei, near to Thailand’s province of Kanchanaburi along the coast of the Southern Andaman Sea starts to generate worries in the region as the agreement by both Thai and Myanmar governments is perceived as secretive. Following the visit to Bangkok of Myanmar President Thein Sein for the signature of three MoU, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra told that the two nations would set up ministerial-level contacts to address issues related to the port of Dawei. The port is not only important for Myanmar’s economy but also for Thailand as it would provide the country’s with the fastest access to the Indian Ocean.
Thailand will be in charge in the project to look at infrastructure, security and logistics in a newly created special economic zone. Opponents to the project speak however of a lack of transparency for the new project, especially as expulsions from local farmers already started to acquire land. Investment into the project is estimated to cost at least US$ 9 billion. Italian-Thai Development, the construction company which received the contract to develop Dawei, is now looking to receive loans from Japan to start. The first part of the project is due to be ready by 2016 and would comprise a highway from the border into Dawei, the sea port as well as basic infrastructure including hotels for business travellers.
Both President Thein Sein and Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra also agreed to open three new border crossings – in Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son and Kanchanaburi – in addition to three existing checkpoints between the two countries, speeding tourist flows between both countries.
You can find more details about the Dawei Port Project here.