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.

Related

GMS Transport Sector Strategy 2030

GMS Transport Strategy 2006–2015

Subregional Transport Forum

Focal Persons at the Asian Development Bank

  • Shihiru Date
    Transport and Communication Division,
    Southeast Asia Department
  • Masahiro Nishimura
    Sustainable Infrastructure Division,
    East Asia Department
  • Rebecca Stapleton
    Sustainable Infrastructure Division,
    East Asia Department

Other Concerned Staff & Consultants

  • Rhodora Concepcion
    Thailand Resident Mission,
    Southeast Asia Department
  • Rodrigo Castelo
    Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Division,
    Southeast Asia Department/GMS Secretariat

Send inquiries to GMS Secretariat.

The 12th Mekong-Japan Summit took place virtually on 13 November as part of the 37th ASEAN Summit and Related Summits. Photo by VNA via VNExplorer.

12th Mekong-Japan Summit Highlights How Cooperation Enhances Connectivity in the Subregion

Japan and Mekong countries convened the 12th Mekong-Japan Summit on 13 November, cochaired by Japan Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide and Viet Nam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. The meeting underscored Japan’s strong commitment to the Mekong subregion and reviewed progress of cooperation between Japan and Mekong countries (Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic [PDR], Thailand, Myanmar, and Viet Nam) as guided by the "Tokyo Strategy 2018." The Strategy seeks to strengthen connectivity, improve human resource development, and enhance environmental protection.

GMS in the News

Feasibility Study Planned for New Railway Line in Lao PDR

The Chinnakorn Civil Public Company of Thailand signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Planning and Investment of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) to conduct a feasibility study for a new railway line in southern Lao PDR. Mr. Vanhxay Inthalaseth, President of the Chinnakorn Civil Public Company and Ms. Khamchanh Vongsengboun, Lao PDR Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment, conducted the signing on 16 October 2020.  The project is expected to promote socio-economic development along areas on the railway route.

GMS in the News

ASEAN Finance Ministers’ Meeting Highlights ADB’s Efforts in Establishing the ASEAN Catalytic Green Finance Facility

The 6th ASEAN Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ Meeting held virtually on 2 October acknowledged ADB’s efforts in operationalizing the ASEAN Catalytic Green Finance Facility (ACGF) as a platform for ASEAN green infrastructure under the ASEAN Infrastructure Fund (AIF).

GMS in the News

Mekong Countries, Republic of Korea Convene 10th Foreign Ministers’ Meeting

The 10th Mekong-Republic of Korea (RoK) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting was held on 28 September online, with the participation of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and the RoK. The meeting highlighted achievements in cooperation on infrastructure, information technology, education, agriculture, environmental protection, and water resources management, and adopted the action plan for 2021-2025.

GMS in the News

The Bago-Kyaikto expressway will link to the Yangon-Mandalay highway (in picture). Photo by ALwinDigital (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

$484 Million ADB Loan to Fund New GMS Expressway in Myanmar

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $483.8 million loan to build a 64-kilometer (km) expressway connecting the capital of Bago region and the township of Kyaikto in Mon state in Myanmar and support economic development along the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) East–West Economic Corridor.

GMS in the News

Top row, left to right: Dr. Danucha Pichayanan, Deputy Secretary General, Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council (Thailand); Mr. Liu Weihua, Deputy Director General, Department of International Economic and Financial Cooperation, Ministry of Finance (PRC); Mr. Alfredo Perdiguero, Director, SERC, ADB. Middle row: Mr. Than Aung Kyaw, Director General, FERD, Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations (Myanmar). Bottom row, left to right: Ms. Sisomboun Ounavong, Director General, Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Planning and Investment (Lao PDR); Dr. Pham Hoang Mai, Director General, Foreign Economic Relations Department, Ministry of Planning and Investment (Viet Nam); and H.E. Mr. Ros Seilava, Secretary of State, Ministry of Economy and Finance (Cambodia) 

GMS Senior Officials’ Meeting Reviews COVID-19 Response Initiatives and Prepares for Upcoming Events

A GMS Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) was held on 11 September 2020 via web-based conferencing to review (i) proposed key GMS strategic planning documents and knowledge products, which includes GMS COVID-19 response initiatives and the new long-term strategy for the GMS program, and (ii) preparations for upcoming GMS events—the 11th Economic Corridors Forum (ECF-11), the 24th GMS Ministerial Conference (MC-24), and the 7th GMS Summit (Summit-7).  

Events

Myanmar State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi makes a keynote address at the virtual Myanmar-Japan Forum via a video clip on 29 July 2020. Photo: MNA via GNLM

Myanmar Highlights Job Creation Potential of New Special Economic Zone

The Myanmar Government unveiled plans to develop a bigger and better connected special economic zone (SEZ) located in Mon State at a virtual Myanmar-Japan Investment Dialogue held on 29 July 2020. The strategically located SEZ will connect both the Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean, and the Thilawa SEZ in Myanmar to Viet Nam’s Da Nang SEZ via the Greater Mekong Subregion’s East-West Economic Corridor. Plans for the new SEZ also include the construction of deep-sea port facilities. 

GMS in the News

The Lopburi solar power plant in central Thailand. Photo by ADB.

Eight Priorities for Kickstarting Post-Pandemic Green and Resilient Recovery in the GMS

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has disrupted people’s health and well-being, led to widespread job loss, and created extraordinary uncertainty with long-lasting effects. As with climate change, the pandemic has disproportionately affected the most vulnerable people across the globe, including those in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS).  

GMS in the News

The Bago-Kyaikto expressway will link to the Yangon-Mandalay highway (in picture). Photo by ALwinDigital (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Myanmar Approves Proposed ADB Loan for the Bago–Kyaikto Highway along GMS’ EWEC

Myanmar’s Union Parliament approved a proposed loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) worth around $483.8 million to finance construction of the Bago–Kyaikto highway. The Bago–Kyaikto highway lies along the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) East–West Economic Corridor (EWEC), which links Myanmar to Thailand, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, and Viet Nam, and Myanmar’s Thilawa Port in Yangon to Viet Nam’s Danang Port.

GMS in the News