Work has begun on a $550m logistics park in Laos following an official groundbreaking ceremony held on Friday, the Star newspaper reports.
The project is being built on a 327ha site in Vientiane, close to the Laos-Thailand Friendship Bridge over the Mekong River. When complete, it will be a central element in the Lao Logistics Link, which is made up of the Thanaleng Dry Port and the Vientiane Logistics Park.
The facilities are intended to take advantage of the rail link that connects Laos and China, and in the future will connect with the Bangkok–Nong Khai high-speed railway in Thailand.
Speaking at the ceremony, Chanthone Sitthixay, the chair of the Vientiane Logistics Park Company, said the project was part of an effort to capitalise on Laos’ improved communications with regional and world markets to transform the country from a landlocked backwater to a Southeast Asian trade hub.
He said: “Once construction of the logistics complex is fully complete, I believe it will generate significant benefits for Laos’ socio-economy and people.”
In March, Sitthixay told the project’s investors that he expected the park to swell Laos’ $15.5bn GDP by 20%.
The scheme is being jointly developed by the Lao investment company PTL Holdings, which holds a 70% stake in the scheme, and the Lao and Vietnamese governments.
The park will have seven zones, including a quarantine facility for plants and animals, a tank farm to store liquids, an export processing centre, a 20ha container yard, free trade zone, technology and halal hub, and an administrative area.
Construction of the logistics complex is expected to take up to three years.