The Government of Laos has greenlit a feasibility study for a railway project that would link Vientiane Capital with Thakhek, in Khammouane Province.
Lao Economic Daily reports that a signing ceremony for a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was held yesterday between the Government of Laos and Petroleum Trading Lao Public Company (PetroTrade) at the Ministry of Planning and Investment.
The project, known as the Laos-Vietnam Railway Project (LVRP), would see a single rail track connection between Laos and Vietnam.
The USD 5 billion high-speed electric railway would run some 452 kilometers and would allow for electrified locomotives.
In its initial phase, the railway would link Thakhek District in Khammouane Provine, Laos, with the Vung Ang Seaport in Vietnam, over some 139 kilometers.
A second phase would then link the railway from Thakhek to Vientiane Capital, spanning a further 312 kilometers.
The MOU was signed by Ms. Khamchanh Vongseneboun, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment, and Mr. Viengkhone Sitthixay, Vice President of PetroTrade in the presence of government officials.
Mr. Viengkhone Sitthixay said at the signing that his compay had received the trust of the Lao government in the investment and development of a number of projects.
“The overall objective of this project would be to contribute to the achievement of the government’s vision in transforming Laos from a landlocked country to a land-linked country,” he said.
The Laos-Vietnam Railway Project, which has been under consideration since 2015, would allow for the integration of logistics supplies between Laos and Vietnam as part of the Laos Logistics Link project (LLL), linking the Vung Ang Seaport with the Laos-Vietnam Railway, Thanaleng Dry Port, and Vientiane Logistics Park.
By connecting to the logistics hub in Vientiane Capital, the new railway would also allow for closer freight and transportation links between Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and China.
PetroTrade says it will hire independent local and international consulting firms in conjunction with relevant government departments to carry out the work, which is expected to be completed and approved within 24 months.
In 2017, the government approved a private-state joint venture to develop the Vung Ang Seaport project after Vietnam authorized the use of the seaport in Ha Thinh Province for Laos.