Thailand, other Southeast Asian nations and countries that have established a regional presence should take steps to kick-start development of the Dawei megaproject, says the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
While the Thilawa and Kyauk Phyu special economic zones are ready to take off with Japan and China as the key sponsors, it is difficult for Dawei to “really gets off the ground”, given that the project is so large, said Craig Steffensen, country director of the ADB’s Thailand resident mission.
He said the ADB would consider the possibility of granting financial support to Dawei, but the project’s developer has not submitted a proposal and feasibility study to the bank.
Italian-Thai Development, Thailand’s largest contractor by market value, has been granted a concession to develop the Dawei special economic zone and a deep-sea port in eastern Myanmar.
Cost of the project is estimated at US$50 billion. That forecast includes $8.5 billion for the first phase of infrastructure.
In addition to the seaport, Mr Steffensen said roads and railway links, as well as power transmission lines, are critical to attracting investors to Dawei by making their shipment costs more competitive.
The cost of moving a container between Dawei and Laem Chabang is about $1,000 compared with only $10 per container from Laem Chabang to Europe, said Mr Steffensen, adding that rail link from Dawei port to Thailand will help to lower shipment costs.