Thursday, 3 April 2014

The shipping news

In a step toward facilitating regional trade and cutting down on lengthy and expensive logistical processes, shipping firms have come up with a plan to allow goods containers crossing posts on the Thai border to continue through to their destination without having to be emptied and repacked onto domestic vessels, officials said.

“From the end of April, container goods should be able to pass through Myawaddy without being transferred to a Thai container,” said U Aung Khin Myint, chair of Myanmar International Freight Forwarders’ Association (MIFFA), adding that the plan had to go through both governments first but has been well received thus far.

The arrangement will would reduce transportation costs and speed up trade, he said, adding that the agreement with Thailand was the first step toward extending the arangement to other countries, he said.

The agreement comes following conversations between several Myanmar associations, the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, customs brokers and the Thai Chamber of Commerce as well as the Thai International Freight Forwarders’ Association.

The plan may be extended to posts on the borders of other neighbouring countries, U Aung Khin Myint said.

“This plan not only speeds up trade between the two countries, but also influences transit trade with other regional countries. This is a must for the AEC, which will start in 2015,” said U Hnin Oo, vice chair of the Myanmar Fisheries Federation (MFF).

U Than Aung Kyaw, director of the Ministry of Commerce’s trade directorate department, said that his ministry would welcome any changes that make logistics easier and more efficient.

“Once they’ve got a licence, the traders can bring their goods in any way they want. If the Thai authorities agree the containers don’t have to be changed, that’s fine with us.”

A high-ranking customs official, who is not permitted to speak with the media, said the facilitation agreement was in line with the requirements of the ASEAN Economic Community though there were still some issues to be resolved.

“My understanding is there are still many things to be discussed, including checking whether the goods in the containers are consistent with the licences granted,” he said. “But we know this plan has to be implemented in the near future.”

source: The Myanmar Times
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