According to a statement from Union Minister Santanu Thakur, a cargo ship will set sail from Kolkata’s Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port (SMP) on May 4 for a trial run to test the new facilities in Sittwe, Myanmar. The project is part of the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project. The project’s goal is to provide alternate connectivity to the Northeast area via waterway from Kolkata Port to Paletwa in Myanmar and by road from Paletwa to Zorinpui in Mizoram.
Based on reports, Ramco Cements will export 300 tonnes of cement to Myanmar using this route. “This will connect Myanmar through inland waterways and open another gateway to the Northeast via Sittwe Port,” Thakur explained. The ship is expected to arrive at Sittwe Port on May 9. According to government sources, the Indian team, led by Union Minister of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal, will set up a reception ceremony for the vessel.
This endeavour is part of the Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project, a collaboration between India and Myanmar. By developing an alternate route to India’s landlocked north-eastern provinces, the project intends to boost transport infrastructure in southwestern Myanmar and north-eastern India. Currently, the Siliguri Corridor — a tiny strip of Indian land lying between Nepal and Bangladesh known colloquially as the “Chicken’s Neck”—provides access to the seven states.
The project’s main elements are the construction of a deepwater port at the mouth of the Kaladan River in Sittwe, the dredging of the river to allow cargo ships to travel from Sittwe to Mizoram in India, a river port in Paletwa in Myanmar’s Chin State, and improved highways from Paletwa to Myeikwa on the Indo-Myanmar border. With the new improvements, the Northeast will be more connected, with waterways running from Kolkata Port to Sittwe Port and up to Paletwa in Myanmar and roads running from Paletwa to Zorinpui in Mizoram.