Five Chinese construction companies and six consultancy firms have been selected for engagement in the Laos-China Railway Project, with construction expected to start in December.
Agreements with the companies were signed in Vientiane yesterday in the presence of Vientiane Mayor Dr Bounchan Sinthavong, Chinese Ambassador to Laos Mr. Guan Huabing, deputy ministers, provincial governors and other invited guests.
The selection of the construction companies and consultancy firms was conducted by the Laos-China Railway Committee, with the process beginning on July 27. The committee sent letters to the construction companies and consultancy firms setting out the conditions for bidding.
Ten Chinese construction companies and 15 consultancy firms submitted bids, according to a report from the committee.
The committee assessed the bids in Vientiane on August 26 before meeting in Beijing from August 28-31 to evaluate them.
During the meeting, the committee scrutinised the bids before making their final decision, as approved by the Laos-China Railway Joint Venture Company.
The joint venture company declared the results of the bid to the companies before publicly announcing the winners on September 8.
In another part of the project, about 20 Lao companies will be chosen as sub-contractors for construction work on the railway, which will run from Vientiane to the Chinese border.
These companies must be sub-contracted by Chinese companies, who will supervise their work and provide technical assistance to ensure high quality workmanship.
The US$6 billion railway, to be built over a distance of 427 km, will be completed by 2021, an official in charge said.
The railway will use a 1.435-metre standard-gauge track. There will be 33 stations, 21 of which will be operational initially, according to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.
There will be 72 tunnels with a total length of 183.9 km, representing 43 percent of the railway’s total length. The line will also have 170 bridges totalling 69.2 km in length, accounting for 15.8 percent of the total.
Passenger trains will travel at 160 km per hour, while the speed of rail freight will be 120 km per hour.
The railway in Laos will link with the track in Thailand to form part of the regional rail link known as the Kunming-Singapore railway, covering a total distance of about 3,000km.
An official ground-breaking ceremony for the Laos-China railway took place in Vientiane last December to mark the 40th anniversary of the foundation of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
The project coincides with the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative of Chinese President Xi Jinping, and will contribute to increased friendly relations and cooperation between Laos and China, and between China and ASEAN.
The Lao government has highlighted the significance of the railway in transforming Laos from a landlocked country to a land link and attracting more foreign investment and tourists to the country.
The railway will also serve to boost production in Laos, both for export and to spur economic growth.
Source: Vientiane Times