While the Asian air cargo industry is set to endure another relatively slow peak season this year, Myanmar is emerging as a bright new spot in the region for cargo companies eyeing future projects, says a global aircraft charter service provider.
“Since major powers have eased sanctions against Myanmar, the cargo industry could see a surge in imports and exports once investments are translated into actual large-scale projects,” Chapman Freeborn said in a recent media statement.
Compared to most of its Southeast Asian neighbors that are experiencing a slowdown in growth, Myanmar’s economy is taking off, it added.
“According to Global Finance, compared to the key economies in Southeast Asia, Myanmar is the only market that has shown a steady growth in real GDP since 2010—and with the sweeping democratic reforms that began last year its economy looks likely to continue to climb upward.”
Myanmar’s Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development has reported that total exports increased from $8.86 billion to $9.13 billion between 2010 and 2012 (with the fiscal year ending in April). Total imports also increased from $6.41 billion to $9.06 billion during the same period.
Myanmar’s exports chart is expected to be dominated by precious stones, oil, natural gas, and other mineral resources. Its imports list will be dominated by heavy machinery and power generation equipment as the country prepares to undergo overdue modernization.
“We are expecting bulk of cargo to be transported by sea, but there will certainly be opportunities for air cargo charters, mainly carrying project-related commodities such as high-tech, time-critical, and outsize equipment to service remote parts of Myanmar lacking proper logistics infrastructures,” Anton Lomakin, air cargo charter specialist at Chapman Freeborn, said.
“We are also anticipating more machinery and project equipment imports that would be used for minerals extraction by energy-related industries,” he added.
Although poor infrastructure in Myanmar’s airports is of significant concern, airport construction and expansion projects are underway.
Lomakin said that currently most air cargo is flown in as belly-freight as airports in Myanmar are not equipped to handle big freighters. This opens up opportunities for specialized project aircraft because of their unique capabilities to self-load cargo.
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