Each country will be granted 100 licences for their transport operators who can drive into the inner areas of the countries, including three routes to Yangon and a port near the Thilawa Special Economic Zone in Myanmar, and Bangkok and Laem Chabang port in Chon Buri, Thailand’s Land Transport Department chief Phiraphon Thawonsuphacharoen said.

A new bridge linking Mae Sot district of Tak to Myawaddy helps boost transport between the two countries. (Photo: bangkokpost.com)

The two countries are selecting and examining operators' qualifications, he said, referring to to a process required by the Greater Mekong Subregion Cross-Border Transport Agreement.

The routes, which start from Myawaddy-Mae Sot border checkpoint are aimed at supporting international tourism and logistics, Phiraphon said.

Drivers from Thailand can begin their trips in Tak's Mae Sot district and cross the Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge to Yangon and Thilawa port. Those from Myanmar can choose from two options - the Myawaddy-Mae Sot checkpoint-Mukdahan route and Mae Sot-Bangkok-Laem Chabang route.

Thailand has also signed the same cross-border transport agreement with Laos, Vietnam, Phiraphon said.

Thailand fetched THB1.4 trillion (USD44.5 billion) from cross-border trade in 2018, up 6 percent over the previous year, but falling short of the set target of THB1.5 trillion.

Thailand’s border trade with Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Malaysia reached THB1.12 trillion – with exports making up THB650.9 billion, down 0.5 percent; and imports worth THB473.76 billion, up 11 percent.

Malaysia was the biggest partner for border trade, followed by Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia./.