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Unique Engagements at ASEAN Port Seminar in Nay Pyi Taw

ASEAN Port delegates

This year the Myanma Port Authority (MPA) hosted the ASEAN Ports Association (APA) Port Seminar on Exchange of Information for Port Development. The seminar in Nay Pyi Taw (14-15 February) was very well attended by around 70 ASEAN port experts from Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, etc.

This seminar provided unique opportunities for the participants to get to know all ASEAN port leaders, and to learn about technical developments and (future) connectivity between ports. Dr Myo Nyein Aye, Deputy General Manager – Myanma Port Authority (MPA) presented on the first day about the recent developments in the Myanmar Port Sector. 

Dr Myo Nyein Aye, Deputy General Manager – Myanma Port Authority (MPA) Dr Myo Nyein Aye, Deputy General Manager – Myanma Port Authority (MPA)

On the second day Frodo van Oostveen, Managing Partner The Water Agency explained about the role of our engagement platforms (or TWA Water Hubs) have played for the port-ecosystem in Myanmar. We are very proud on our collaboration with the Myanma Port Authority, as we believe it’s important to inspire young generations to get more engaged with the Port sector.

“A ship in the port is safe, but that is not what ships are built for. Sail out to sea and do new things”

by Grace Hopper

Our journey in Myanmar started already in 2014 and resulted in the first Myanmar Netherlands Water Student Challenge program with around 40 Myanmar students participating. Myanmar and Dutch water & maritime experts shared their experiences during field trips and guest lectures. During the three-day program students were invited to visit the Port in Yangon and learn more about all aspects of a port, and especially the interconnectivity between all stakeholders around the port; the students were divided into four teams: River, City, Village and Port. On the final day students were requested to share an integrated solution.

Myanmar Netherlands Water Challenge Student program 2016

The key message of our presentation was about the importance of multi-stakeholder collaboration and engagement during all phases of Port Development. We would like to bring the perspective of human-centered design, and that ports are hubs (of people) where people connect with each other. Please find enclosed our presentation: ‘Engagements Platforms in partnership with Myanma Port Authority’.

Although we are not technical port engineers, we have learned a lot about the Port eco-system over the last years resulting in a 3-year collaboration between Yangon Regional Government and a Consortium of the Dutch Water Sector: Urban Water Logistics for a Greater Yangon (UWLY).

The key principles for sustainable Port Development are the optimal balance between People, Planet and Profit. For engagement purposes The Water Agency is focussing on Knowledge sharing, Match-making, Capacity Building and Communications. You can also discuss the following 3 pillars: What are the Cost (business-case / value), What is the Time-line (long-term investment / human resources) and What about Reputation (collaboration / communications).

  • Ports depend on the people (human resources) working in the port.
  • Ports are developed around a Business Case – and always in relationships with other ports / countries.
  • Ports (development) are about long-term development – financing and human resourcing
  • Ports are crucial hard and soft assets for a country.

In partnership with TU Delft (knowledge partner in Urban Water Logistics for a Greater Yangon program), Prof Tiedo Vellinga will share his experiences about sustainable port development in Rotterdam with Myanmar stakeholders (25-28 February). He will also host a Port of the Future Serious Game.

Mr. Frodo van Oostveen, Managing Partner, The Water Agency Mr. Frodo van Oostveen, Managing Partner, The Water Agency

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. 

by Mark Twain

For your inspiration we also shared two engagement concepts that could spark innovation and positive awareness around Port Development in ASEAN. 

The first concept is Port XL a Port & Maritime Accelerator program that drives innovation for the maritime eco-system. PortXL was founded in 2015 in Rotterdam, Netherlands with the vision of cultivating a spirit of innovation within the global maritime industry. They want to change the way people think about the maritime industry. This is why PortXL is an ecosystem of startups, corporate partners and mentors. Singapore is already an active partner of PortXL program.


For your inspiration: YGNDOX Concept – Maritime Innovation Experience Centre

The second concept is RDM Campus a hotspot for innovation in the port: this is where the manufacturing industry of the future is taking shape. They host innovation docks to set up your business at RDM’s Innovation Dock, and to becomes part of an enterprising network of start-ups and R&D branches of established multinationals. More inspiration about ‘innovation at a historic location’.

Looking forward continuing our collaborations in Myanmar, and expanding our engagements in ASEAN for sustainable and future-proof ports.