During February 26 - March 4, 2021, Mercy Corps’ Market Analysis Unit (MAU) conducted phone interviews with 25 shipping providers serving humanitarian and commercial clients in Rakhine State and elsewhere. This included seven Yangon-based interstate providers and 18 local providers in nine townships. The MAU asked respondents about changes in business conditions from January to February. It is the second MAU snapshot of shipping providers.
Rising fuel costs and limited access to cash remain the largest challenges for most shipping providers, although Yangon providers face other mounting challenges too;
Political turmoil is the main cause of difficulties for providers at present, while challenges from conflict and Covid-19 restrictions have largely receded;
Prices are up 20-50% for interstate shipping and 10-25% in Sittwe, while local providers report smaller increases of around 5%;
Demand is down 50% for interstate providers and 10-40% for some Sittwe providers, although local Rakhine State providers report better demand in February than January;
Some interstate providers now have just several weeks of cash available, and most providers interviewed are pessimistic or uncertain about the future of their sector;
March and April could see higher prices and reduced supply of interstate shipping, as well as stricter terms of payment due to cash shortages.