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NEW UPDATES Asean Affairs  13 January  2016  

 Laos-China railway project expected to carry 3.8m passengers in first year

DOMESTIC passengers commuting through the planned Laos-China railway project are expected to reach 3.98 million in its first year, a study has showed.

The number of domestic passengers is forecast to rise to 6.11 million annually in the short term and jump to 8.62 million annually over the longer term, Deputy Prime Minister Somsavat Lengsavad said recently.

Passengers commuting from Vientiane to the Chinese border via the railway would be charged only about 161,850 kip (Bt750), much cheaper than fares by road, currently at 285,000 kip, he told the recent ordinary session of the National Assembly.

The Lao and Chinese governments broke ground on December 2 in Vientiane to commence construction of the US$6.04 billion (Bt220 billion) project to connect Vientiane with the Chinese border over the distance of 427 kilometres.

Construction is expected to take about five years to complete.

The project will form part of the regional railway network connecting China's Kunming to Singapore via Laos, Thailand and Malaysia.

The number of passengers of the five countries commuting through the regional railway is expected to reach 9.65 million in its first year.

The numbers are expected to rise to 11.98 million passengers a year in the short term and increase to 16.5 million passengers annually over the longer term.

At the beginning its operation, freight through the regional railway between China and the four Asean member countries - Laos, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore - is estimated to reach 2.59 million tonnes a year and rise to 3.62 million tonnes within the short term, then jump to 5.46 million tonnes over the longer term.

Through the planned railway, goods transported from Vientiane to the Chinese border would be charged only 269,750 kip per tonne, which is much cheaper than road freight, currently 833,340 kip per tonne.

Somsavat, who is in charge of the project, told parliament that rail transport offering cheaper costs with faster speed would enable Laos to enjoy advantages in promoting trade and investment.

"Transportation time will be significantly cut."

Goods transported by road from Vientiane to the Chinese border take about three days, but with the railway, transportation would take just over three hours, he said.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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