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Vietnamese minister visits Vientiane Logistics Park, pledges support for Lao access to seaport via Vietnam

Visiting Vietnamese Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung has pledged support for the Lao Logistics Link (LLL) project that would enable landlocked Laos to access a deep seaport in Vietnam.
The minister and his entourage are making a working visit to Laos.

Mr Nguyen Chi Dung (third left), Mr Chanthone Sitthixay (fourth left), Vietnamese officials and executives of Vientiane Logistics Park Co., Ltd, gather for a group photo.     --Photos Lao Economic Daily

He announced the support commitment on Wednesday during his visit to the Thanaleng Dry Port (TDP) and Vientiane Logistics Park (VLP) in Vientiane, which is part of the Lao Logistics Link.
Welcoming Minister Dung and his delegation, Mr Chanthone Sitthixay, Chairman of PTL Holding Company Limited – the Lao investor that will partner with the Lao and Vietnamese governments to develop the LLL - said the dry port and logistics park will link to Vung Ang Port in Vietnam’s central Ha Tinh province via a proposed railway. The port and railway are also part of the Lao Logistics Link.
Opening for service on December 4 last year, the US$727 million dry port and logistics park project being developed by finance sought from the World Bank, also connects to the Laos-Thailand Railway and Laos-China Railway, which could reach European markets via an interconnected rail network.
The dry port, which functions as an international border checkpoint for freight, has been an important land port for freight transit, notably between neighbouring Thailand and China and beyond.  
To bolster the connectivity infrastructure, the Lao investor will partner with a leading Vietnamese business group to initially construct the Vientiane-Vung Ang railway’s first section to link the port to Thakhaek district in central Khammuan province.
Earlier this week, the FLC Group and the Lao investor signed a memorandum of understanding on railway construction cooperation. The Lao investor expects to start construction of the railway in Laos by the end of this year.
The Lao Logistics Link’s two other projects – a planned 2,000MW coal fired power plant that needs to import large quantities of coal to feed the plant, and a logistics park both in Khammuan – will supplement investment justification of the port and the Vientiane-Vung Ang railway.
It is estimated that in the next five years the number of containers in transit via Laos will reach 5 million units, of which 1.5 million containers would be shifted through the railway and the Vung Ang Port. 
The shipping of cargo through the port including from Thailand’s Issan region to larger Asian markets such as China, Republic of Korea, Japan and Hong Kong provides a cost-effective option.
“Cargo from Vietnam destined for Southeast Asian markets will be much facilitated,” Mr Chanthone told the guests.
“Our two countries will benefit from this connectivity.”

Mr Nguyen Chi Dung.

Mr Chanthone Sitthixay.

He added that the packaged Lao Logistics Link project is significant for Laos’ socio-economic development.
Mr Chanthone, who is also Chairman of the Vientiane Logistics Park Co., Ltd., informed the Vietnamese minister that it would be necessary to invest US$300 million to upgrade facilities, machinery and equipment at the port to meet the growing need for cargo transport.  
A marketing study conducted by the consulting firm Royal HaskoningDHV and other entities showed that the volume of dry bulk cargo handled by Vung Ang port reached 2.9 million tonnes in 2014. It is estimated that this amount will rise to 20.2 million tonnes by 2030, according to a video presentation on the project.
For his part, Minister Dung pledged to support the cooperation projects, especially the port and railway, to facilitate access to sea trade routes.
He told the Lao investor that Vietnamese authorities are in the process of transferring more shares in the port to Laos after Vietnam agreed to increase the number of shares held by Laos from 20 to 60 percent.
The minister described the Vung Ang port and railway in particular as a far-sighted-vision cooperation project, on which the leaders of the two countries place great importance.
He added that the project will contribute significantly to driving the development of Laos and enhancing further the traditional friendly relations, special solidarity and

Mr Chanthone Sitthixay (right) presents a gift to Mr Nguyen Chi Dung.

comprehensive cooperation between Laos and Vietnam.
“If we complete the development of the port, railway and modern logistics parks, we could attract great investment,” Minister Dung said through an interpreter.
“We, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, fully support the projects.” 
Prior to his visit to Laos, the minister called on Vietnamese Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chinh and briefed him about the projects. The minister also called on Lao President Thongloun Sisoulith on Tuesday.
The leaders expressed full support for the cooperation projects, the minister told the Lao developer.
The minister touched on the need for all stakeholders to draw up proper plans to source financing to realise the five major projects under the Lao Logistics Link, along with formulating policies to attract investment so that the money invested and profits can be returned.  

Blue line shows how the Vung Ang Port will connect to logistics parks in Khammuan and Vientiane as well as seaports in Thailand and Myanmar.


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 (Latest Update March 25, 2022)

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