Western Economic Corridor


The Western Corridor is an important trade corridor for Myanmar, but possibly not with its current alignment. The important trade corridor is between Yangon– Naypyidaw–Mandalay, with Yangon and Thilawa ports acting as gateways. The road link between Payagyi and Mawlamyine has been addressed as part of the East-West Corridor. The main road between Yangon and Mandalay, referred to as NR1, is generally in fair condition and lightly trafficked. Most physical infrastructure issues are at the southern end, in and around Yangon and the connection to the port at Thilawa. If current policies continue and sanctions are lifted (update needed?), it is likely that more port development will be a priority. This will require the involvement of both the public and private sectors. In addition, there could be a need for supporting container freight stations and inland clearance depots.

The section of the corridor between Meiktila and the Indian border at Tamu passes through very difficult terrain and is subject to severe flooding and erosion. Transporters charge high rates for this section because of the risks and, similar to the Northern Corridor, this is considered as more of a strategic link than a trade corridor. This central section of the corridor is multimodal due to the rail line between Yangon and Mandalay. The road is predominantly double-tracked, but it is in poor condition. The role of rail in the development of trade within Myanmar will depend on its port connectivity, improved reliability, and where “block” train operations can be viable.

Generally, trade clearance arrangements are not of international standards and are nontransparent at this stage (update needed?). The 'soft' infrastructure issues center around the need to modernize clearance procedures and in increasing automation among border agencies at the ports.