Giant Rail Company Limited (GRCL) on Friday signed a contract with a Lao company to install railway route corridor posts for a planned line linking Laos’ central province of Savannakhet to the Vietnamese border.
The move is one step closer to the start of construction of the 220km railway to be built by the Malaysian investor Giant Consolidated Limited (GCL), which is expected to cost between US$5.5-6 billion.
The Corridor Post Installation contract was signed by the GRCL, represented by Dato’ Sri Dr Yuhao Aixinjueluo, Chairman of the Asia Economic & Trade Cooperation Council (AETCC), the Project Supervision Management on Contractors’ Affairs, and the DML Survey Design Bridge-Road Irrigation and Road Architects represented by Mr. Khampheng Vilaysak.
The signing ceremony took place at Giant Rail Company Limited’s premises in Vientiane witnessed by the project concessionaire, GCL President Mr. Mohammad Fadzwi Bin Hamidun who is also the President/CEO of GRCL, and Deputy Director General of the Railway Department of Laos, Mr. Sonesack N. Nhansana.
Malaysian Ambassador to Laos Dato’ Than Tai Hing was also present at the event along with the Vice President of GRCL Dato’ Bounmy Thepphavong, Project Manager/Director of the Railway Department Mr. Bounchanh Saybounheuang, and President of the Malaysia Business Chamber Laos Dr Muhammad Firuz Hamidun.
The installation of corridor posts along the proposed railway, which includes 11 mixed development zones on 4,100 hectares of land along the route in Savannakhet, is expected to be completed within three months from the beginning of October 2016.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, Ambassador Dato’ Than Tai Hing, who is set to complete his mission in Laos in coming months, said this project is in full support of the government of Malaysia and he said he hoped to see physical construction of the project would begin soon.
Before the end of the year, before I finish my term here, I would like to see the launching on the ground, not just on the paper, the ambassador said.
H e said the project would be a significant boost to the Lao government’s efforts to turn Laos from a landlocked country into a land link within the region.
We will target construction as per the Ambassador’s speech as he is instrumental to our project implementation and approval from the relevant Lao government authority, Dato Sri Dr Yuhao Aixinjueluo told the Vientiane Times .
He said the developer had been carrying out the project systematically and the signing of the contract would see further removal of additional UXO in the area and installation of the railway Right-of-Way Corridor post markers to define the final route which was approved by Savannakhet in March 20 16.
Everything worked according to our project schedule and according to the Lao Railway Authority, Savannakhet province and the Minister of Transport [Minister of Public Works and Transport], he said.
On September 6, 2016, Giant Rail Company Limited officials briefed Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Bin Hj Tun Abdul Razak, on the project at a meeting with the Malaysian business community before the start of the 28th and 29th ASEAN Summits in Vientiane last month.
The Prime Minister was very keen to know the progress of the Savannakhet to Lao Bao railway and other projects undertaken by Malaysian companies and businessmen in Laos, the company said.
In his speech, the Malaysian Prime Minister advised Malaysians to enhance stronger presence in the Lao PDR in terms of business development, investments and people to people relationships, the company said in a press release.
Giant Consolidated Limited sig ned an agreement with the Lao government in 2012 to carry out the railway project. The two sides formed the Giant Rail Company Limited, in which the Lao government has a 10 percent share, to implement the project.
Source: Vientiane Times