Japan is set to supply three new ferries to Myanmar in a bid to provide round trip service across the Yangon river, according to the Inland Water Transport Authority (IWTA).
In order to supply these ferries, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is collaborating with Myanmar and will be studying the waterway between Pansodan and Dala jetties over the next year.
Although the construction of the three ferries was completed over a month ago, they have not yet been transferred to Yangon.
Initially, the ships were to be driven to Myanmar, but due to bad weather in the South China Sea, they are to be delivered via a large ship arriving from Japan, said U Myint Than Tun, deputy director of marine division of IWTA.
“All three ferries are ready, but we cannot say for sure when they will get here because the Japanese side is arranging the transfer. They are looking for a large vessel, which has the capacity to load the three ferries, and will then head in our direction,” he said.
The pilots who will run the new ferries have been enrolled in a two-week training program in Japan. The ferries are named Cherry 1, 2 and 3 in reference to the cherry blossoms from Japan, U Myo Naing, deputy director of the transport division of IWTA, said.
“It’s good news that new ferries are coming. The current ferries are so crowded with vendors selling goods that even I feel sorry for the foreigners who take them,” told a commuter who comes to Yangon from Dala daily for work.
Currently, three ferries, named Htee Hlaing Shin, Kyan Sit Thar and Tapin Shwe Htee, make up the fleet that runs the route to and from Yangon and Dala. Two ferries operate daily as each one is inspected for repairs every two days. The ferries run from 5am to 9:30pm and transport 25,000 to 30,000 passengers daily, according to IWTA.