New Law Promotes Railway Development in the Lao PDR

The Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) has issued a law to guide railway development and ensure integration of its rail services with regional and global networks.

News reports said Lao PDR President Bounnhang Vorachit recently issued a presidential ordinance promulgating the 50-page Law on Railways. The new law promotes local and foreign investments in railway infrastructure development through various schemes, including public-private partnerships and other concession agreements. It also provides the principles and regulations for managing railway services, including passenger and freight transport and logistics services.

A landlocked country in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), the Lao PDR is working toward transforming itself into a regional transport and trade hub. As the only nation bordering all the other GMS member countries, and the only one crisscrossed by all three GMS economic corridors (North–South Economic Corridor, East–West Economic Corridor, and Southern Economic Corridor), the Lao PDR could potentially play a key role as a major trade thoroughfare both within the Mekong region and the wider Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) community.

The government is planning several railway projects, including a railway bridge with Thailand that will connect the two countries with the People’s Republic of China.

The new law also requires railway developers to conduct a feasibility study and survey; draft rehabilitation and repair plans; and ensure displaced people are compensated fairly and given better living conditions.

Read the full story at Vientiane Times and Xinhua.

Last Updated: 10 May 2019