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Govt, Laos-China Railway Co. ink development deal

The government and the Laos-China Railway Co., Ltd. have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the development of areas surrounding railway stations in the capital and Oudomxay, Vientiane and Luang Prabang provinces, with the aim of fostering industry and logistics.
The agreement was signed in Vientiane on Friday between Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment, Mrs Khamchan Vongsenboun, General Manager of the Laos-China Railway Company, Mr Xiao Qianwen, and representatives of the four areas concerned.
The signing was witnessed by Deputy Minister of Public Works and Transport, Dr Viengsavath Siphandone, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Mr Thongphat Vongmany, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Mr Bounmy Phoutthavong, and other guests.
Speaking at the event, Mr Xiao Qianwen said the development of areas around these railway stations would tap the potential in these locations for the growth of industry, logistics, commerce, and local economies.

The targeted areas are the station in Vientiane, a station in Vangvieng district, Vientiane province, a station in Xay district, Oudomxay province, and a station in Luang Prabang province.
As of December 10, work on the tunnel railroad, tunnels, and bridges was about 95 percent complete, while railroad tracks and buildings were 41.3 percent complete, Mr Xiao said.
The 422.4-km railway, which connects Vientiane to the Chinese border, traverses the provinces of Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Oudomxay and Luang Namtha, passing through 75 tunnels with a combined length of 197.83km, according to the Laos-China Railway Co., Ltd. Construction of the US$5.986 billion (37.4 billion yuan) railway began in December 2016 and is scheduled to be complete and open for use in December 2021.
The Laos-China railway is a strategic part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the government’s plan to transform Laos from being landlocked to a land linked within the region.
When it is operational, the railway will cut the cost of transport through northwestern Laos by 30-40 percent compared to transport by road.
The 422.4-kilometre railway runs from the Boten border crossing in northern Laos, bordering China, to Vientiane, with trains running at a maximum speed of 160km per hour.
The government is confident the railway will spur socio-economic development and enable Laos to make greater progress.

By Phomphong Laoin
(Latest Update
December 14,

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