Indonesia has established the first direct sea trade route with Myanmar with its vessel MV Forkus operating between Jakarta and Yangon in a bid to broaden its network in the Southeast Asian region, business circle said on Monday.
The route, inaugurated recently, will enable Myanmar export goods to be shipped directly to Indonesia without requiring to transit through intervening ports.
Having a cargo handling capacity of over 8,000 tons, the vessel arrived in Yangon from Chennai Port in India and would proceed to Vietnam after picking up Myanmar goods, a vessel official said, adding that the new route would also facilitate export of Myanmar goods to Malaysia, Singapore, China and India.
There are 24 international shipping lines which stop at four ports of Yangon -- Thilawa, Bo Aung Kyaw, Asia World and Myanmar Industrial Port, of which the Thilawa stands the largest to accommodate the 176-meter-long MV Forkus.
Meanwhile, the two countries' business organizations are also seeking direct trade link between Bandung and Yangon, business circle said.
Indonesia is Myanmar's fourth largest trading partner among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations after Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia, having a bilateral trade with Myanmar standing at 104.78 million US dollars in the fiscal year of 2004-05 which ended in March, according to official statistics.
Indonesian investment in Myanmar so far went to over 241 million dollars since late 1988 when Myanmar opened to such investment, the figures also show.