Laos Rethinks Savannakhet to Lao Bao Railway Project

Mr Sathabandith Insysiengmai (right) shakes hands with Mr Dai Kang Fu after signing an MOU on the proposed Savannakhet-Lao Bao railway last week.

The Lao government has consented to a feasibility study for the construction of a 220 km railway route from Savannakhet province to Lao Bao, which is situated in Quang Tri province, Vietnam, near the Lao border.  

Jiangsu Hengtong Construction Engineering Co., Ltd. has been asked to carry out a study on the construction of a railway line linking the two neighboring countries. Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment, Mr Sathabandith Insysiengmai, and company President Mr Dai Kang Fu signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to go ahead with the study last week.

A similar project attempting to connect Savannakhet province to Lao Bao began in 2013 but failed to come to fruition.

Mr Sonesack N. Nhansana, a former Deputy Director General of the Lao Railway Department, and the coordinator of the Savannakhet-Lao Bao railway project, said the project would cost around USD 5 million, if approved. It will take two years to wrap up the feasibility study and the next three years to complete construction.

The construction company has also requested the government for a concession to build four large and seven small stations on 4,100 hectares of land along the railway line.

A feasibility study is also underway for a railway project connecting Vientiane Capital with Thakhek, in Khammouane Province before reaching Vietnam.