Asia Pacific: Proposed high-speed rail network a high investment for Laos?

This story was from channelnewsasia.com

Channel News Asia

Proposed high-speed rail network a high investment for Laos?

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/proposed-high-speed-rail-network-a-high-/682812.html

  • By Anasuya Sanyal
  • POSTED: 21 May 2013 4:54 PM

High-speed railway lines connecting Thailand, Laos and China might soon become a reality after the Thai cabinet met with its Lao counterparts in Chiang Mai earlier this week.

File photo: Laotian boys ride on a motorcycle with a sidecar attached in Luang Prabang, Laos. (AFP/Roslan Rahman)

THAILAND: High-speed railway lines connecting Thailand, Laos and China might soon become a reality after the Thai cabinet met with its Lao counterparts in Chiang Mai earlier this week.

The proposal would have a major impact on the region as there is currently only vehicle crossing from ASEAN countries into China.

Both governments are planning to spend billions on countrywide railroad infrastructure.

But in Laos, the plan will be nothing short of radical as the country’s rail networks are practically non-existent.

The proposed massive rail projects will require loans totalling over half of the country’s GDP, which was US$8.3 billion in 2011, according to the World Bank.

Chadchart Sittipunt, Thailand’s transport minister, said: “I think the key message for Laos will be how to create value for this high-speed train for Laos. I think we need to talk because I think there will be a lot of investment for Laos. But how will they create value from this big investment? If they can do it, it will be a good connection between Kunming (China), Laos, and Thailand.”

Rail links are not a surefire benefit to Laos’ economy.

Nevertheless, Vientiane’s ambition to transform the landlocked country into an integrated regional player is gaining support from its neighbours.

Last year the Thai government agreed to finance a US$55 million project to build a short railway line bridging Laos’ capital with Thailand’s Nong Khai province, while it plans its own railway overhaul to be completed in 2020 at a cost of US$69.6 billion.

– CNA/xq

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: