Transport

Developing transport infrastructure in tandem with policies and procedures for crossing borders and promoting trade has been central to efforts to interconnect the Greater Mekong Subregion countries.

The Subregional Transport Forum reviews, coordinates and monitors regional transport plans and projects of GMS member countries.

Transport lies at the heart of Greater Mekong Subregion cooperation. The development of physical infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, in tandem with policies and procedures for crossing borders and developing trade along key routes, has been central to efforts to forge a truly interconnected subregion.

Physically connecting the countries of the subregion was one of the first initiatives of the GMS program when it was founded in 1992. The countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion have acknowledged that in order to cooperate in trade, tourism, and investment, and to realize the other benefits of the region, they must expand the road links and border crossings that connect them.

This is being done through the development of “economic corridors,” which are geographic areas, often along major highways, where a variety of development projects are undertaken to maximize their development benefits. This might include projects involving infrastructure, laws and regulations, market development, and the improvement of urban centers. Economic corridors bring a wide range of benefits, far beyond what single projects deliver in terms of development impact.

The three main GMS corridors—the East–West, North–South and Southern economic corridors—have improved the lives of millions of people in the Greater Mekong Subregion. These corridors are being enhanced with secondary roads that extend their benefits to nearby communities most in need, and other roads that link to strategic seaports in the subregion. The regulatory details of how people and goods can best move along these corridors are also currently being worked out.

The GMS Economic Cooperation Program Strategic Framework 2030 (GMS-2030) will prioritize intermodal approaches, facilitate cross-border transport, and seek improvement in logistics, asset management, and road safety. Given the rise in GMS economic density, and with respect to its environmental considerations, GMS-2030 aims to ensure the development of railway networks; sea, river, and dry ports; and inland waterways. Investments in airports to improve connections with the rest of Asia and the world will be essential, as will the development of secondary roads that will link to main corridors to expand the benefits to poorer communities. An effort will be made to integrate urban transport with the GMS transport network. GMS-2030 was endorsed and adopted at the 7th GMS Summit of Leaders in September 2021. It aims to provide a new setting for the development of this subregion for the next decade.

Related

GMS Transport Sector Strategy 2030

GMS Transport Strategy 2006–2015

Subregional Transport Forum


Focal Persons at the Asian Development Bank

  • Steven Schipani 
    Water and Urban Development Sector Office

    Sectors Group

  • Dee Suvimol Thanasarakij (Ms.)
    Executive Director, 
    Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office  
    www.mekongtourism.org 

Other Concerned Staff & Consultants

  • Zulfia Karimova, EAPF 
    Regional Cooperation and Integration Unit
    Central and West Asia Department

  • Mark Bezuijen
    Agriculture, Food, Nature, and Rural Development Sector Office
    Sectors Group

  • Asadullah Sumbal 
    Regional Cooperation and Integration Unit
    Southeast Asia Department

  • Lucia Martin Casanueva
    Regional Cooperation and Integration Unit
    Southeast Asia Department/GMS Secretariat 

Send inquiries to GMS Secretariat

The road project is expected to improve travel between Yangon (in photo), Myanmar’s largest city, and Mae Sot in western Thailand.

The road project is expected to improve travel between Yangon (in photo), Myanmar’s largest city, and Mae Sot in western Thailand. Photo credit: ADB.

Thailand to Support Upgrade of Key Road Link in Southern Myanmar

The Myanmar government recently approved a project that will ensure the completion of the Greater Mekong Subregion East-West Economic Corridor, which stretches from Danang, Viet Nam to Yangon, Myanmar.


Expansion of economic corridor networks and new areas for economic investment will strengthen trade and investment links between the capital cities of Mekong countries. Photo: ADB.

Expansion of economic corridor networks and new areas for economic investment will strengthen trade and investment links between the capital cities of Mekong countries. Photo: ADB.

Expanded Road Networks to Link Mekong Capitals, Boost Investment

CHIANG RAI, THAILAND (1 December 2016) – A major expansion of economic corridor networks and new areas for economic investment will strengthen links between the capital cities of Mekong countries, and provide unprecedented opportunities for cross-border trade and investment under an agreement reached today by officials attending the 21st Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Ministerial Conference.




Delegates at the Green Freight and Logistics in Southeast Asia regional workshop held in Bangkok. Photo: ADB.

Green Freight Approach Needed For Greater Mekong Subregion - Workshop

BANGKOK, THAILAND (2 June 2016) – “Greening” road freight in the Greater Mekong Subregion will help participating countries achieve their Sustainable Development Goals, as well as providing economic benefits, delegates at a workshop in Bangkok heard today.


Thailand's highway network spans over 70,000 kilometers across all regions. Photo: ADB.

Highway 12 Upgrades to Support Cross-Border Trade and Tourism

BANGKOK, THAILAND (12 March 2016) – The completion of work on a 105-km section of highway from Phisanulok to Lomsak to expand it from two lanes to four, supported by the Asian Development Bank, is expected to generate greater economic activity and increase local competitiveness