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Chances high of Japanese investment in Dawei
Publication Date : 19-01-2013
Expecting that Myanmar's Dawei Port project’s shareholding structure and other details would be finalised in March, Thai Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt yesterday expressed confidence that Japan might invest in the project.
Japan had expressed interest in a joint investment in the Dawei deep-sea port and industrial estate since early this year, Chadchart said yesterday after attending a workshop titled "Dawei Project's Role with Thailand's Competitive Advantages".
A detailed investment plan is under review, he added.
Extension of soft loans by Japan to support the project's infrastructure would boosting the project's feasibility, as the loans would help to lessen the interest burden during the initial period of the project.
The project will be managed by a special-purpose vehicle with Japanese, Thai and other foreign private-sector players as shareholders. The Thai government will act as a project supporter.
Two project managers will be selected later in March. In the first phase, a single company will take charge of both the industrial estate and infrastructure. Later, these responsibilities will be handled by two separate companies.
Personally, Chadchart agreed with the idea of having one company handle both parts, as income from the industrial estate could be directly used for infrastructure development.
"Thailand's role in the Dawei project is that of a promoter, seeking to drum up investment. I am confident that the Myanmar government needs the Dawei project, which will benefit Thailand and the region. The Dawei project is an alternative for industries in the West and the North of Thailand," Chadchart said.
Tanit Sorat, director of the Federation of the Thai Industries, said that the Dawei deep-sea port would have a low level of overall expenses. Currently, the Dawei port project is hampered by lack of infrastructure. Upstream industries will be the first to establish a foothold in the industrial estate, Tanit said.
Suwat Asavathongkul, chairman of the Bangkok Shippers and Agents Association, said Dawei port's freight costs would be close to or slightly higher than those at Thailand's Laem Chabang deep-sea port, as a feeder would be required to deliver products to the main vessels.
He expected the Dawei deep-sea port would not become a major hub like Singapore's port, as it would not cater to a sufficient number of products. It is expected to accommodate products from the Dawei industrial estate and those nearby.
Somchet Thinaphong, managing director of Dawei Development Co Ltd, said producers would select services for the Dawei project.
Dawei Development will open to allow private companies to book space at the Dawei industrial estate's one-square-kilometre area by the end of this year.
Chanvit Amatamatucharti, deputy secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Board, said the Dawei project could lift Thailand's gross domestic product by 1.9 per cent, while expanding Thai industries, boosting the border economy, extend sources of energy production and expanding transportation and logistics networks.