Yangon to modernise port 

Yangon Port is due to move away from paper documentation. Source: Wikimedia
 Hitachi Solutions is hoping to have an electronic data interchange (EDI) system for Myanmar’s ports functioning by early 2017, CEO Kaichiro Sakuma said. 

Myanmar’s ports still use paper records for the passage of ships and goods, Sakuma said.

Hitachi plans to replace this cumbersome set up with an electronic data IT exchange of business documents in a standard format.

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), in collaboration with Nay Pyi Taw, awarded Hitachi the contract to upgrade the system in August.

Hitachi was hoping to have it completed by March 2017, Sakuma said.

EDI would reduce the time it takes ships to apply to enter and leave Myanmar ports, and make invoicing, logistics and terminal management much easier.

The number of ships arriving at Yangon’s port had doubled over the past 10 years, the general imports had more than doubled, and the arrival of containers had risen fourfold over the same period, U Thet Tun, deputy permanent secretary for the Ministry of Transport, announced.

Myanmar Port Authority intends for administrators, maritime companies and private operators to all use the EDI.

The aim is develop a national single window where traders can submit all transit documents. This in turn would enable Myanmar to join the Asean single-window initiative, which aims to increase economic integration within the bloc.

As competition to recruit IT engineers in Myanmar heats up, driven partly by rising labour costs in China and Vietnam, Hitachi joined Myanmar’s leading science and engineering university to train new talent.

Chinese and especially the USA, which has high hopes for Myanmar’s continuing democratisation, are also entering the country.

Hitachi said It had established a laboratory at the University of Information Technology, Yangon, to train tomorrow’s IT leaders. The Japanese company plans to hold four two-week IT courses a year, sending engineers from Japan to teach UIT professors and students how to manage computer systems and make use of big data.

Hitachi said it was donating the hardware for the course.

The company expects to train around 400 people over five years, many of whom will join Hitachi’s operations in Myanmar, it is hoped.

Given the low labour costs and high academic achievements among the educational elite, Kaichiro Sakuma, a senior vice president said: “We would like to use these workers at our group’s main bases of operation across Southeast Asia.”

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