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Maersk Line’s direct shipping between Myanmar and China expected to accelerate economic growth

Name : Position : Company :
Dawid Sold Country Manager
Maersk Line Myanmar Ltd

Dawid Sold received a Graduate Diploma in International Business from the Warsaw School of Economics in 2002 and joined the Maersk Group in the intermodal depart- ment in Maersk Poland. Since then he has held several positions within the Maersk Group- Mets + Project Manager in Copen- hagen, East Mediterranean Area Process Manager in Genoa, Country Ocean Manager in Damco Poland and Eastern Cluster Man- ager in Seago Line. Then, Dawid became Country Manager in Myanmar in July 2014.
MI : When was the first time you visit- ed Myanmar?
The first time I visited Myanmar was in May 2014. This was after accepting my current contract to work in the country, and I was in Myanmar to go through the handover pro- cess with my predecessor.
MI : What was your impression of the country then?
I really did not know what to expect but I was surprised in a positive way. One of the first and most important impressions is how safe it is here. One can feel that common crime is on the low side in Yangon.
MI : How did you end up your posi- tion as a country manager of Maersk Line Myanmar?
I have always wanted to work in South East Asia, so I decided to apply for this exciting role when I saw it in company’s internal job portal.
MI : Could you share the present ac- tivities of your group in Myanmar?
The Maersk Group is a global conglomer- ate comprising different businesses, some of which are being represented in Myan- mar. This includes container shipping and we sell our products under two brands — Maersk Line (world’s largest shipping line) and MCC Transport (specializes in shipping within Asia). Damco, which is a logistics company in the Maersk Group, and Maersk Crewing Services which specializes in hiring seafarers are also operating as separate legal entities in Myanmar.
MI: What are the company’s objectives?
Maersk Line and MCC Transport have own representations in Myanmar. By having this set-up, we believe that we are able to con- nect our global standards and systems with local legal requirements and operational procedures, to serve the country and local market better. We want to be the partner of choice for our customers, and provide
access to global trade in the most customer friendly way.
We hope to contribute to further growth of the local economy by offering competi- tive shipping services. For example, earli- er this month we launched a direct service between Myanmar and China. This service will be important for the garment busi- ness in Myanmar, allowing importers and exporters to better compete against other
neighboring countries such as Bangladesh, Vietnam and Cambodia.
In the global economy, transport networks can become bottlenecks or enablers of a country’s competitiveness, and we aim to continue to be innovative in this respect.
Maersk Line’s direct shipping between Myanmar and China expected to accelerate economic growth. We have two weekly and one bi-weekly shipping services connecting Yangon with major transshipment ports in Malaysia and Singapore. From the trans- shipment ports we have big ships that connect to a large number of major and import- ant destinations in Europe, North America, Africa and South America.
We have, also in February 2015, launched a new direct service connecting China with Yangon directly, with no transshipment of the cargo. This recent product gives direct connection between Myanmar and its big- gest trading partner, China, which accounts for an estimated 45% of all imports from Asia to Myanmar.
MI : Which countries Myanmar im- port most from and what are the products so far?
The three biggest import origins for Myan-
mar are China, Thailand and Vietnam, and different types of consumption goods, auto- mobiles and construction materials are the top imports.
Construction materials also include huge machinery, which is a very interesting cargo type for our company, as it frequently re- quires special know-how and capabilities to transport these. Another reason that makes us excited about transporting this special cargo is knowing that they will be used production factories in Myanmar, to help grow local business and exports.
MI : What other special services are offered by Maersk?
Besides shipping containers, as mentioned above, both Maersk Line and MCC Trans- port are also highly specialized in carrying so called ‘project cargo’, which is all kinds of products that do not fit into a standard container, for example big construction ma- chines and even boats.
Another special service that we offer is ac- cess to the biggest pool of reefer (air-conditioned) containers. This is very important for the agriculture business, which is also a big part of Myanmar’s export economy. Last but not least we also offer special containers for garments on hangers business. These are containers that look like big wardrobes and allow our customers to transports garments in the most economical way.
MI : Maersk launched new container service that transport direct between China and Myanmar by Intra Asia 5 (IA5) recently. What are the future plans for Myanmar like IA5?
We will like to be careful about revealing our development plans for the market, but Myanmar is definitely very exciting place for us. We will continue our strong focus on this growing market and we hope to further enhance trade growth for Myanmar and con- tribute to the country’s economy.
MI: Based your experience, how does working in Myanmar different from working in other ASEAN countries?
Doing business in Myanmar is different in several aspects, also because the country is still opening up progressively. For exam- ple, stable and fast Internet access is not that common in Myanmar yet, so this is one of the challenges for doing business in the country. So locally, we have come up with other manual solutions that make our work- ing procedures and processes very different from the global standard. At the same time, it is positive to see the recent infrastructure developments and we hope that this trend continues, which will increase Myanmar’s competitiveness.
MI : In which sectors do you see strong business opportunities in Myanmar?
Myanmar is often regarded as the last frontier market and is also a strategic geographical location in Asia, so I hope local business will see a boost in the near future.
Myanmar used to be the biggest rice export- er in the past, and the country has great cli- mate conditions for the agricultural sector. There is also strong and growing potential for the garments exports business. Oil and gas is already a huge business here and is growing.
The country’s scenic landscapes and historical sites also make it a great tourist destination so tourism and related services are likely to grow.
MI : From a business standpoint, what will be the biggest challenges that you and your organization face in Myanmar in the next one to three years?
It is definitely infrastructure developments. The country’s infrastructure needs to be developed to cater to the growth of the economy. This includes reliable Internet and power supplies, a banking system that is fully integrated to the global banking net- work, a better network of roads and more developed ports.
MI : What advices would you like to share to someone who is looking to start up a business and invest in here?
Do not be put off by challenges, for example in terms of infrastructure, as Myanmar is an exciting place to be in!
MI : Last but not least, how are you enjoying your life in Myanmar?
Managing our company’s business is taking up the bulk of my time so I do not get to spend much time on my hobbies. But I love badminton and enjoy playing it with fellow local players, and I also enjoy travelling around Myanmar, which is a very beautiful country.[/paypal]