The Myanmar Five Star Lines (MFSL),the state-owned overseas liner, is striving to extend its cargo transportation services to member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in a bid to boost the country's foreign trade, according to Sunday's local Voice news journal.
The MFSL is making arrangements for the move but it did not identify the destinations to where its container services are to be expanded, the report said.
MFSL's move is part of Myanmar's efforts to develop foreign trade.
The MFSL established in February 1959, remains as the sole state-owned foreign cargo transportation enterprise directly operated by the Myanmar Transport Ministry.
The MFSL owns 23 ocean vessels engaged in overseas and domestic coastal shipping services and has branch offices in 11 countries and regions, such as China, India, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and China's Hong Kong.
According to an earlier report of the local Flower News, the MFSL will introduce its cargo transportation service to Sri Lanka soon to mark the opening of direct sea link between the two countries to boost bilateral trade ties.
That move came after Myanmar and Sri Lanka agreed in November last year to establish direct air and sea links to effectively boost bilateral trade ties between the two countries as proposed by Sri Lanka.
Currently, trade between Myanmar and Sri Lanka is transacted through Singapore.
Myanmar has been striving for the development of foreign trade in recent years, with it foreign trade hitting nearly 8 billion U.S. dollars in the fiscal year 2006-07 which ended in March, according to figures of the Ministry of Commerce. The 7.92 billion dollars' foreign trade volume gained in 2006-07 registered a new record high in 18 years since 1989.
Of the foreign trade during the year, which was up 42.9 percent from 5.54 billion dollars in 2005-06, exports took 5 billion dollars, an increase of 40 percent from 3.554 billion dollars in the previous year, while imports accounted for 2.92 billion dollars, a rise of 47.5 percent from 1.979 billion dollars correspondingly.
A trade surplus of 2.08 billion dollars was produced for the year which is a continuation of the status from the previous year which showed 1.6 billion dollars.
Myanmar trades most with Asian countries and regions with a share of 90 percent, followed by European countries (4.8 percent) and American countries (1.5 percent).
Of the Asian nations with which Myanmar traded in 2006-07, Thailand stood as Myanmar's top trading partner during the year, with a bilateral trade volume of 2.659 billion dollars.
After Thailand, Myanmar's other main trading partners were lined up as China with 1.274 billion dollars, Singapore (1.217 billion dollars), India (895 million dollars) and China's Hong Kong (424 million dollars).