8 January 2014
Construction of a high-speed rail project linking the western border of Laos with Thailand to Vietnam could begin this month.
Malaysian company, Giant Consolidated, who will construct and operate the 220km railway, held a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the laying of the "foundation" for the project last month, reports Radio Free Asia.
"According to Giant Consolidated, work is expected to begin in January," an official from the Lao Ministry of Planning and Investment said, asking to remain anonymous.
Citing sources at Giant, the official also said that full construction on the railway was likely to begin this month but provided no further details on the plans.
A high-speed rail will link Laos’s southwestern border with Thailand, to the Lao Bao border gate with Vietnam (Wikimedia Commons)
Giant was awarded the contract to construct and operate the railway from Savannakhet on Laos’s southwestern border with Thailand, to the Lao Bao border gate with Vietnam in the east, in November 2012.
Construction of the railway, which could extend to Vietnam’s Danang port city, is expected to take four years.
Laos has no coastline so the rail links are expected to lower the cost of exports and consumer goods and help drive the country’s socioeconomic development.