Full steam ahead for Sino-Lao rail project

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The China-Laos railway construction has adopted Chinese technologies, standards, and equipment. CHINA DAILY/ANN

Work on the China-Laos railway, a strategic project under the Belt and Road Initiative, is progressing steadily with work on Vientiane station commencing on Friday in the Laotian capital, despite Covid-19 challenges.

The 14,543sqm station is the largest of the 20 newly-built stations under the China-Laos railway project, which seeks to make Laos a land-linked hub.

 

Vientiane station plans to have four platforms and seven railway lanes, two reserve platforms and three reserve lanes (places for platforms and lanes in future constructions). When completed, the station can hold 2,500 people at a time at most.

Vientiane station is being constructed in Xaythany district’s Xay village by China Railway Construction Group Co Ltd (CRCG), which has executed 13 other projects in the line, including stations and dispatching centres.

CRCG has said the station will combine both Chinese and Laotian cultural elements with modern construction styles, aiming to build a customer-friendly and environment-friendly station.

Chantula Phanalasy, director-general of management of the railway project on the Laos side, said he was pleased with the progress in construction and hoped that it would be completed and operated soon to further boost Laos’ economic development.

The China-Laos railway, linking Kunming city in Southwest China’s Yunnan province with Laos’ capital city Vientiane, is the first overseas railway project that is mainly invested, constructed, operated by China, and linked to the Chinese railway network since the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The China-Laos railway construction has adopted Chinese technologies, standards, and equipment, and is reported to contribute greatly to Laos’ economic development as well as the BRI related constructions.

 

The railway has helped boost trade between the two countries, said Zhou Minliang, a senior researcher at the Institute of Industrial Economics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Zhou said the BRI presents opportunities for economies involved to join the global value chain, especially those that have abundant natural and labour resources but lack infrastructure, technological and financial abilities to develop and promote their products in overseas markets.

“The BRI-related projects have promoted a more efficient exchange of resources, technology, capital, and will facilitate a win-win cooperation for all the economies involved. The BRI has been playing an important role in facilitating trade and globalisation.

“It is also a good sign that Covid-19 is a speed bump rather than a hurdle to the BRI. Going forward, BRI projects should further leverage resources from the economies involved to promote better trade for all and contribute to a more globalised world,” Zhou said.

Trade in goods between China and the BRI participant economies surpassed $7.8 trillion from 2013 to last year, Ministry of Commerce data show. China’s direct investment in the BRI participant economies topped $110 billion in the same period.

CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK