Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) will be removed from the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices on April 15, S&P Dow Jones Indices said in a statement on Monday, citing the firm’s business links with the Myanmar military responsible for the coup that overthrew Burma’s democratically elected government on February 1 and the human rights abuses that followed.
APSEZ is building a new container terminal with an investment of $290 million along Myanmar’s Yangon river on a 50-year deal.
“Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone will be removed from the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices following a media and stakeholder analysis triggered by recent news events pointing to heightened risks to the company regarding their commercial relationship with Myanmar’s military, who are alleged to have committed serious human rights abuses under international law,” S&P Dow Jones Indices said on Monday.
APSEZ will be removed prior to the open on Thursday, it added.
The Yangon terminal will be built under the auspices of the Myanmar Port Authority and the Myanmar Ministry of Transport and Communication.
The project is helmed by Adani Yangon International Terminal Co Ltd (Adani), a unit of Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd (APSEZ).
The Ahlone International Port Terminal 2 (AIPT 2) will be developed over 54 acres of land leased from the Myanmar Economic Corporation Ltd (MEC), which is currently operating AIPT 1.
ITD Cementation India Ltd is undertaking the EPC work for the project.
The first phase of the new terminal was expected to start operations by end 2020 with a capacity to handle 150,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) but has been delayed.
In the second phase, the capacity of the terminal will be raised to 800,000 TEUs by June 2021.
The project has come under a cloud with the United States imposing sanctions on ten serving and former Burmese military officials responsible for the February 1 coup as well as on Burma’s military holding companies – Myanma Economic Holdings Public Company Limited (MEHL) and Myanmar Economic Corporation Limited (MEC).
Following a backlash, APSEZ said that “the land acquisition for the project was facilitated by the Myanmar Investments Commission led by U Thaung Tun, its Chairman and Minister of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations under the guidance of State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy government”.
“Much like our global peers, we are watching the situation in Myanmar carefully and will engage with the relevant authorities and stakeholders to seek their advice on the way forward. As a responsible corporate, our intention is to create investment-friendly opportunities in Myanmar through trade and commerce which will have a multiplier effect on job creation for the local communities and contribute towards the nation’s economic and social development goals.
“We condemn violations of the fundamental rights of all people and would continue to work with our partners and stakeholders, including business leaders, government and non-government organisations, to foster a business environment that respects human rights. We are also working with independent think tanks to ensure mitigation of human rights violations risks and building equal opportunity platform through sustainable value creations powered by critical port infrastructure”, the firm said in a statement.