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.

Lao PDR, Viet Nam to Open New International Border Crossing

The Governments of Lao PDR and Viet Nam will upgrade the Dakta-ok-Nam Giang border crossing between Sekong (Lao PDR) and Quang Nam (Viet Nam) provinces to international status, with the Sekong province opening its first international border crossing on 24 March. This upgrade will further ease the movement of goods and people between the two countries, and shorten the distance between Thailand and Viet Nam via the southern Lao PDR route by more than 100 kilometres.

GMS in the News

24th Meeting of the Greater Mekong Subregion Subregional Transport Forum

The Ministry of Transport (MOT) of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) jointly organized the 24th Meeting of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Subregional Transport Forum (STF-24) virtually held on 21 January 2021. The theme of STF-24 was “Forging Greater Transport Connectivity Toward the Visions of GMS 2030”. 


The Thai-Lao Friendship bridge built with Australian funding, crossing the Mekong River. Photo by Australia DFAT (CC BY 2.0) .

Construction of the Fifth Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge Begins

The fifth Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge across the Mekong River is being constructed, following the signing of the construction agreement in December 2020. It will connect Bolikhamxay province in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) and Bueng Kan in Thailand. The project is set to transform Bolikhamxay into a regional trade hub and transit route for Lao PDR, Thailand, and Viet Nam. It could potentially increase the subregion's tourism and attract more trade and investment for Lao PDR. 

GMS in the News

Pandemic partners: Regional cooperation has helped Asia and the Pacific mitigate and recover from COVID-19

The region’s success with decades of growth and poverty reduction is due in large part to the international movement of trade, capital, people, knowledge, and resources – not only within the region but with the rest of the world. This type of regional cooperation is also a powerful tool in addressing the pandemic.

 

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Border check point on the Lao PDR side of the Mekong River. Laos and Thailand are now linked by “Friendship Bridge II” completed in 2007. Photo by ADB.

Sixth Thai-Lao PDR Friendship Bridge to Open in 2025

Thailand’s Ministry of Transport is scheduled to complete the 6th Thai-Lao friendship bridge by 2025, according to Mr. Saksayam Chidchob, Thailand Minister of Transport.  This new bridge promises to further enhance border trade and promote tourism between Thailand and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR). 

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

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

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