Laos steps up cooperation with GMS countries for rail connectivity

Source:Xinhua Published: 2018/3/26 10:51:03

Laos continues to cooperate with neighboring countries for sustainable railway connectivity in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) while pursuing its dream to transform the country from landlocked to land-linked, local daily Vientiane Times reported Monday.

Lao director general of the Planning and Cooperation Department under the Ministry of Public Works and Transport Sengdarith Kattignasack made the comments last Thursday during the GMS Association Board of Directors General Meeting in Lao capital Vientiane.

He added that the Lao government's policy is to transform the country into a transit transport service provider within the region through land links.

First is the under-construction railway from the China-Laos border to Vientiane which is over 400 km. The railway is now some 30 percent complete and has a construction deadline of December, 2021.

The existing 3.5 km Lao-Thai railway in Vientiane will be lengthened by 7.5 km in Phase 2 of this project.

The Vientiane-Thakhaek-Mugia-Tan Up-Vung Ang Railway Project, which will be 555 km long extending to central Vietnam, and a spur line of the Singapore-Kunming Rail Link, has undergone a feasibility study financed by a grant from South Korea.

The planned Savannakhet-Laobao railway, running to the Vietnamese border over a distance of 220km, is now in the feasibility study stage.

Also in the pipeline is the Vientiane-Pakxe-Veunkham-Lao Cambodia border railway, for which the Lao Department of Railways is working intensively to seek financing for a feasibility study.

"Laos was looking forward to the completion of these railways, as they would be a strong driver of socio-economic development, turning the country into a land bridge in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region and complementing China's Belt and Road initiative," Sengdarith said.

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