16 Feb 2021

Myanmar has never really been a place of democratic peace


From military regimes that ruled with an iron fist for decades to accusations of genocide, Myanmar (previously known as Burma) has a bit of a bad reputation.

Here in the UK, we've handled that in an very British way…

Ask an average Brit where Myanmar is and they'll look at you blankly. Ask them about Burma and they'll just scratch their head…

You see, us Brits are famous for many things…

The Queen.
Being polite.
Our dry sense of humour.

And our uncanny ability to avoid awkward situations by pretending they just don't exist.

But this week - aside from Coronavirus, vaccines and lockdown - Myanmar has taken the spotlight in the British media.

The military coup is big news.

For the last few years Myanmar has been ruled by a civil democracy. By a nobel peace prize-winning woman.

Not anymore.

Earlier this week the military held a coup, placing the state counsellor (similar to prime minister) under house arrest (again - she's spent about 15 years on house arrest over the years) and regaining control of the country.

There's mass civil unrest. Protests in the streets.

There's no knowing what's to come but it's probably not pretty - an uprising? A military dictator? Who knows.

The only thing that's certain is that it's going to bring a whole heap of uncertainty to an unstable country in the midst of a worldwide pandemic.

Now, I'm no political expert and I've never been to Myanmar - although I've visited its neighbours Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

So why am I writing about it?

Well, this is big news - and big news usually impacts freight. This is no different.

While Myanmar might not be the biggest player for freight in Asia, the industry is valued at around $4 billion.

We've had a few people asking “Is my freight going to be affected?”

As it stands, airports are closed - but ports are now reopened and operating normally. Customs are clearing goods as per usual.

So it seems all is well for sea freight arriving in the country. I'll be keeping an eye on the situation and I'll update you if anything changes.

I'd love to end on a light note - but I really feel for the people of Myanmar. A military coup is no laughing matter - especially for a country that's suffered as much as Myanmar over the last decades.

So instead, I'm going to ask you to share a little positivity with me - send me some good news? Something that's brought a smile to your face and made you feel warm and fuzzy inside?

I'd love to hear about it… We all know the British media only share doom and gloom so help me lighten the mood a little!

Chadd Blunt
Millennium Cargo