Work On Railway Construction Has Begun, Deputy Minister


Work has begun on the construction of the Laos-China railway project with technical development in land compensation taking place for the section between Phonhong and Vientiane.

Deputy Minister of Public Works and Transport Mr. Lattanamany Khounnivong revealed the progress of the project while delivering a lecture at the Party Central Committee’s Propaganda and Training Board yesterday.

The lecture aimed to build understanding about the project among government officials, civil servants, and government employees.

The development of the 427-km railway linking Laos-China border crossing Boten in Luang Namtha province and Vientiane and is divided into six contracts (six sections): the first is a 68.7 km section between Boten and Meuang Xay (km 0+000 to 88+650), the second section is between Meuang Xay and Nam Seu bridge (68.8km), the third section is from Nam Seu bridge to Phou Sanaen (65.6 km), the fourth section is from Phou Sanaen to Ban Pa village (61.49 km), the fifth section from Ban Pa to Phonhong (79.5 km), and the sixth section is from Phonhong to the capital (65.7 km).

The 427-km railway will need permanent use of about 3,000 hectares of land, and temporary use of 800 hectares of land, while some of the land belongs to government, the rest of the land is private.

“The sixth section from Vientiane to Phonhong, on which we have signed a contractual agreement, has a technical team dealing with land compensation, while construction companies are preparing to set up their working camps,” Mr. Lattanamany said.

The deputy minister, who is also the project coordinator, highlighted the progress concerning legal matters, saying that the joint venture agreement between the two countries was expected to be signed in China during the visit of Lao officials to the country this week following the government’s decision on the signing. Mr. Lattanamany also said the two sides have been in negotiation on concession agreements, explaining that the slowness of the negotiations was due to the Chinese side proposing a draft concession agreement that they had previously drafted for another project, wanting the same draft structure.

“The Lao side had to take some time to make comments about it; therefore the negotiation has been in the process of a counter draft,” according to the deputy minister.

Laos fully supports the building of a railway in a bid to free itself from the constraints of being landlocked, hoping to create a land link and becoming a transit hub within the region.

Lower transportation costs are expected to benefit the economy by attracting more foreign investment and providing much improved logistics services.

Mr. Lattanamany also revealed that three additional contracts would possibly be signed for the 5-year rail project to meet the requirements of working in three geological risk areas, bidding tenders to select contractors later this month.


Source: Vientiane Times