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Dawei is stalled, says Thai govt minister


Tuesday, 12 February 2013 15:03 | The Bangkok Post

Development of the Dawei deepwater port has stalled because of planning uncertainties and conflicts with potential investors, Thailand’s Transport Minister Chadchat Sittipunt admitted yesterday [Monday].

Thai Premier Yingluck Shinawatra, meeting with the President Thein Sein, first traveled to the Dawei Special Economic Zone in December 2012. (PHOTO:Yingluck Shinawatra / Facebook)
Thai Premier Yingluck Shinawatra, meeting with the President Thein Sein, first traveled to the Dawei Special Economic Zone in December 2012. (PHOTO:Yingluck Shinawatra / Facebook)
The minister, who heads a sub-committee on infrastructure development in the Myanmar-based Dawei special economic zone, said the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning had yet to study several key aspects of the project.

These include studies into public utility demand, suitable utility fees, total required investment, development timeframes and technical aspects of infrastructure including port locations.

The government is also having difficulty getting Japan on board as a major investor.

Mr Chadchat said the Japanese government disagrees with Thailand’s proposed port locations in Dawei.

Japan is calling for industrial and container ports to be separated—similar to the setup of Thailand’s industrial port in Map Ta Phut and container port in Laem Chabang—to prevent traffic congestion.

He conceded that disagreements between Thailand and Japan on several aspects of the Dawei project would make it difficult for the development to kick off.

The minister also said the Japanese government was no closer to making an investment commitment.

Required investment in the Myanmar city is estimated at more than 290 billion baht [US $10 billion].

An agreement to jointly develop the project was signed last year by the governments of Thailand and Myanmar, but the massive project is known to be in need of financial backing.

Mr Chadchat believes it will be at least a year before the Japanese government can make a decision on investing.

He also admitted there had been no clear fundraising plan for the project.

This article was first published in The Bangkok Post on February 12, 2013.

 

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