Myanmar HighwayBurma highway
A report on the expansion of Kalewa-Yagyi Road in Myanmar.
Myanmar's street rules, which cost the country millions.
Yangon-Mandalay Expressway is being questioned by transportation and logistic firms because it is costing a lot of life and is costing a lot of work. Mr Paul Apthorp last months rode up and down the Yangon-Mandalay Expressway, a four-lane motorway connecting the two most important citys. However, as vice-chairman of the GMS Freight Transport Association, a local government alliance of transportation operators, everything Apthorp could see was a lost chance.
Aptorp is one of the leading companies in Myanmar's logistic and cargo industries demanding the opening of the highway to lorries - a step that would increase transportation efficiencies, lower shipping cost and help preserve life. Last year, the Asian Development Bank estimates that the registration of lorries on expressways would immediately cut annual shipping cost by 110 million US dollars - more than 10 per cent of overall truck shippingcost.
This number could increase to 200 million dollars with some extra investments in the roads, according to a communication for the Ministry of Transport and Communications. Not surprisingly, the opening up of the motorway to lorries was the first priority in their guide. The same result was found in a poll by the Japan International Cooperation Agency for the 2014 National Transport Development Plan, which recommended opening the highway to lorries before 2018.
In Myanmar, the insufficient use of the highway is particularly noticeable, as the state does not have a high-quality traffic infra-structure. In 2016, the ADB said that 45 to 60 billion US dollars would have to be spent on transportation over the next 15 years. Apthorp and other supporters find it child's play to register lorries on the highway.
The prohibition means that a large part of the country's lorry fleets, which transfer 90 per cent of their cargo, are located on the Yangon-Mandalay Highway, just tens of kilometers eastwards of the highway. For example, the journey back usually lasts about three working nights, where it can be carried out in one single working afternoon on the dual carriageway.
The hauliers are convinced that there is no need to limit goods traffic to the old motorway if the newer express road is not used to capacity. ADB agrees with its 2016 announcement that there is "no good reason" to limit lorries to the old motorway, "which is longer and in worse condition".
Adrien Veron-Okamoto, a South East Asia transportation expert at ADB, affirmed that the ADB was not known to restrict HGVs on the highway. "There is definitely a good enough excuse to open the highway to trucks," he said. Mr Veron-Okamoto said ADB was in discussions with the federal administration about the policies and funding of security enhancements to the highway.
Industrial resources said one of the reasons was that lorries would be damaging the highway, but there is little proof of it. According to a December 2010 New Light of Myanmar state highway withstands 80 tons. It is also open to fast coaches that can transport more loads per wheeled vehicle than a 22-wheel semi-trailer with a total mass of 48t.
Construction Ministry Principal U Kyaw Naing said the cause was security. He said the highway was a hazardous street, and if big lorries were registered, there could be more traffic-failures. As the old motorway is smaller, lorry operators cannot overspeed the limits. It also said that lorries containing perishables or time-critical goods, such as fruits, veggies and papers, are authorised on the motorway with advance authorisation.
Yangon-Mandalay Express Way is often called the " Highway of the Death" because of the high number of deadly crashes. But hauliers are insisting that the old motorway is more hazardous to drivers because it is smaller, in worse shape and runs through densely built-up areas. Numbers show that the number of highway fatalities is decreasing, possibly due to security consciousness campaign.
Between January and the end of October this year, 99 persons were killed on the highway, compared to 134 in the same time frame last year, according to the highway police. Veron-Okamoto of the ADB said that it would be safe for drivers if lorries used the highway instead of the motorway.
The heads of state and government of the transportation sector assume that the Ministry of Construction protects the interests of those businesses that levy toll fees on the old motorway. There are seven firms - orientental Highway (formerly Asia World), Max Myanmar, Shwe Than Lwin, Shwe Taung, Kanbawza, Yuzana and Thawdawin - controlling the construction, operation and transmission agreements (BOT).
Government press coverage suggests that in the early 2000s privately owned enterprises began to expand the motorway. An August 2002 paper reported that Shwe Than Lwin, Asia World, Olympic (a predecessor of Shwe Taung), Kanbawza, Yuzana, Hong Pang and Dagon International were among those participating. The Max Myanmar website states that it started charging toll fees for the Taukkyant to Bago section on 1 April 2008.
The ADB states that most Motorway Transportation Services (BOT) agreements have a 40-year term. Yoma Fleet's Davidson said Frontier had informed his assistant head of building that there was "an agreement" with the road haulage companies that lorries should not change to the highway.
The CEA Logistics Councillary Director John Hamilton said the Department had also said that there was "understanding" between the authorities and the tolls. "He said, "I don't know how much these motorway hauliers have been paying for these licenses, but the authorities are obviously concerned about taking the lorries and the cash from these tolls.
The Ministry of Construction Ministry Manager Kyaw Naing said there was no formal agreement with motorway drivers. In addition, he affirmed that the contract does not provide for lorries to stay on the old motorway. However, the fact that businesses are considering a significant upgrade of the old motorway indicates that the revenue from the motorway tax will still be flowing.
SMEC, the Australia based consulting engineers, has been commissioned by "a privately held company" to examine the viability of security enhancements on the Yangon-Mandalay Highway. Jonathan Carroll, SMEC Myanmar waters infrastructures management, said the effects of opening the highway to lorries were not part of the work. Daw Thazin, Assistant Construction Ministry Minister, said any decisions to add extra traffic are a matter for the tolls.
U Aung Zaw Naing, Shwe Taung CEO said the old highway operators are gradually moving from two to four Lane, if possible. "Cause it' s an old highway, some of the areas we can't expand because of the homes, so some are three-lane," he said.
It confirms that there is nothing in the contract of contract with a truck that stops on the motorway. "We would be very pleased if lorries were registered on the motorway as long as[politics] supports the economic development by reducing logistics overhead. However, another motorway operator was less enthusiastic about the concept.
Kanbawza Group CEO U Moe San Aung said in an e-mail that lorries "should not be registered on the motorway". Both Yoma Fleet and CEA Logistics have prepared a draft for the approval of articulated lorries on the express road, but only if they fulfil certain conditions. The lorries would be limited to the entrance and departure in Hlegu in the Yangon region, Nay Pyi Taw and Mandalay.
Throughout Germany, the Group rents around 600 lorries, among them concrete platforms, liner vehicles and a range of two-ton lightweight lorries. A lorry of his firm in October slaughtered a motorbike driver on the old motorway; the driver tried to pass and crashed head-on into the lorry. On the autobahn such incidents are far less likely, he argument.
Howard Seargent, CEO of the storage and transport firm Kospa, said the ban on lorries off the motorway was a missed chance.