Laos is set to gain from ASEAN high speed rail which will link Thailand with China. The line is planned to connect the southern Chinese city of Kunming to Bangkok, passing through the Laotian capital of Vientiane on the way.
Laos’ rail system is still undeveloped. The country’s 3.5 kilometer-long railroad and single train station are mostly used to transport tourists from the Thai border town of Nongkhai.
However, this is quickly changing with the regional integration the ASEAN Economic Community will bring, along with large economies such as China and Japan seeking to profit from its potential.
ASEAN High Speed Rail to Boost Trade
Because of its central location in the ASEAN region, investors are considering Laos as a hub for business, trade, and transportation. Laos is a landlocked country. But it has a unique position as the only country in Southeast Asia which borders five others.
Thai Permanent Secretary for Transport Soithip Trisuddhi sees not just regional, but also global implications. “We see this as an investment for the future, connecting us with the world,”
“The Chinese will have a rail line to Europe. If we build this then we will link with China through Laos. We will also connect with the standard gauge line being developed in Malaysia and Singapore.” said Trisuddhi.
Laos wants to capitalize on its own potential as well. There are plans to build two larger railways within its own borders. “The first line will link the north with the south. The second line will link the east with to the west,” said Somsana Ratsaphong, director-general of Lao Railways. “The aim is to link Laos to seaports via rail, transforming this land-locked country into a land-linked one.”
ASEAN high speed rail will jumpstart not just Laos, but also the entire region. Quality infrastructure, great fundamentals, and many other reasons make Southeast Asia one of the world’s best places to start a business and invest in.
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