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


Workers take a ride on a truck after their shift at a factory in Cambodia. Photo by ADB.

$82 Million ADB Loan to Improve Cambodian Roads, Support GMS Economic Corridors

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved an $82 million loan to improve about 48 kilometers of national and provincial roads in Prey Veng and Kandal to boost economic development along the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Southern Economic Corridor.


Cross-border Freight Transport between Lao PDR – PRC Launched

Two trucks were flagged off at the launch of cross-border freight transport between Kunming in Yunnan Province, People’s Republic of China (PRC), and Vientiane, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), on 25 August. The Vientiane-bound truck from PRC carried around 3 million CNY (around $464,000) worth of machinery, equipment, and electronic appliances, while the truck bound for Kunming carried Laotian goods. Both trucks will pass through the Bohan (PRC)-Boten (Lao PDR) border checkpoint.


Lao PDR’s Se Kong, Viet Nam’s Quang Nam Provinces Jointly Launch the Dakta Ok–Nam Giang Border Gates

The Governments of Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Viet Nam inaugurated the Dakta Ok (Se Kong, Lao PDR) – Nam Giang (Quang Nam, Viet Nam) border gates on 14 August 2021, which were upgraded to international status this year. This new international cross-border point is expected to further boost bilateral trade, investment, and tourism, and promote opportunities for cooperation between Viet Nam’s central key economic zone and Lao PDR’s south-central region, as well as Thailand’s southeast region.


Viet Nam Seeks Support from GZAR, PRC, to Facilitate Agri Export

Mr. Nguyen Hong Dien, Viet Nam’s Minister of Industry and Trade, requested support from Mr. Lu Xinshe, Party Secretary of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China (GZAR, PRC), to facilitate cross-border trade between Viet Nam and the PRC by (i) upgrading border gates, (ii) restoring customs services at sealed off border gates, and (iii) extending the operating hours of customs clearance services at border gates, border crossings, and markets.


Meeting photo via Viet Nam Plus

Second Mekong-U.S. Partnership Ministerial Meeting Underscores U.S. Commitment to the Subregion

The second Mekong-U.S. Partnership Ministerial Meeting held on 2 August 2021 unveiled four flagship projects under the Mekong-U.S. Partnership, and noted the 8.5 million vaccine doses and over $58 million in U.S. COVID-19 assistance to the Mekong subregion countries.


Aerial photo of the Nanpeng Highway Bonded Logistics Center in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality via Xinhua

Significant Growth for Cross-border Highway Freight Service in Chongqing, PRC

Cross-border highway freight service in Chongqing, People's Republic of China, grew significantly in the first half of 2021. Data from Chongqing Highway Logistics Base showed that 1,666 trucks transported goods worth about 997 million yuan ($154 million), up 70% and 107% year on year, respectively, from January to June. Chongqing launched its cross-border highway freight service in 2016. This year, it started new highway cross-border freight routes linking the inland city with Vientiane, Lao PDR. The service presently operates nine routes linked to ASEAN countries and Central Asia.


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