Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand are coordinating to introduce a cargo vessel liner to link their port cities in a bid to boost maritime trade among the three countries, a local media reported Tuesday.
The planned route of the cargo liner is outlined as Chittagong (Bangladesh)-Yangon (Myanmar)-Ranong (Thailand), the Voice Journal quoted Bangladeshi Ministry of Commerce as saying.
With Yangon serving as a transit port, it will give rise to direct trade link between Chittagong and Ranong, between Yangon and Chittagong, and between Yangon and Ranong, the report said.
Once the liner is in place, Bangladesh-Thailand cargo transport could no longer have to go via Singapore and could be done in three days, Bangladeshi officials were quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, Myanmar and Bangladesh are negotiating to extend sale of Myanmar marine products directly to Chittagong while a trade zone is being set up in Myanmar's western border town of Maungtaw in Rakhine state linking Bangladesh to mainly export the marine products to the neighbor, according to fishery business circle.
Official statistics show that Myanmar exported 23,000 tons of marine products to Bangladesh annually, standing as Bangladesh's fifth largest marine products importing country out of 30.
Currently, Myanmar and Bangladesh are engaged more in border trade than normal trade. Besides marine products, Myanmar's exports to Bangladesh also cover beans and pulses and kitchen crops, while its imports from Bangladesh include pharmaceuticals, ceramic, cotton fabric, raw jute, kitchenware and cosmetic.
Myanmar and Bangladesh formally opened border trade in 1994 at two points of Sittway and Maungtaw.
According to the figures of the Ministry of Commerce, bilateral trade between Myanmar and Bangladesh reached over 60 million U.S. dollars in the fiscal year 2005-06. Of the total, Myanmar's export to Bangladesh stood at 55 million dollars, favoring Myanmar in their balance of trade.
The two countries are striving to increase their bilateral trade to 100 million dollars, the sources said.
To enhance their bilateral trade, Myanmar and Bangladesh signed in Yangon a technical protocol on coastal sea-borne trade between the two countries in July 2004.