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
  • Nicolas E. Dei Castelli
    Sustainable Infrastructure Division,
    East Asia Department

Other Concerned Staff & Consultants

  • Antonio Ressano
    Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Division,
    Southeast Asia Department
  • Alma Canarejo
    Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Division,
    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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Luang Prabang Station along Lao PDR-People's Republic of China Railway Nears Completion

The Luang Prabang Station along the Lao PDR-People's Republic of China (PRC) railway is set to be completed in August, notes the China Radio International Vientiane. It will have two platforms, four tracks, and a station hall that can accommodate 1,200 passengers. The station’s roof incorporates a distinctive “three vertical lines, one diagonal” design in the steel structure.  

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Chu Lai Port serves the needs of import and export goods for businesses in Viet Nam's Central region. Photo by THACO, THILOGI's logistics company.

Chu Lai Port in Viet Nam as New Export Gateway

Chu Lai Port aims to become a major international freight forwarding hub for import and export of goods in Viet Nam’s central and Central Highlands regions. The Trường Hải International Logistics Limited Liability Company, operator of Chu Lai Port, has expanded the port's scale and upgraded its entire service chain to achieve this target. The port has linkages to coastal roads, highways, and large industrial clusters and offers accessibility to the East-West economic corridor.

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Vientiane toll station photo by _khamla_phimmasone_US$. This file comes from Mapillary.com, a service for sharing geotagged photos. All photos are under a CC BY-SA 4.0

Lao PDR-PRC Expressway to Improve Connectivity and Boost Investment

The planned Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR)-People’s Republic of China (PRC) expressway aims to improve the transport of goods and people, promote production, and boost commerce, investment, tourism and services, in line with the Government of Lao PDR's objectives. It spans 440 kilometers and comprises four sections in total. Section 1 running between Vientiane and Vangvieng, is already in use. 

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On the road from Ho Chi Minh, Viet Nam to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Photo by Clay Gilliland/ Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Upgrade for Highway Linking Cambodia and Viet Nam Proposed

A $97.9 million upgrade for Viet Nam’s National Highway 62 has been proposed to Viet Nam's Ministry of Transport. The renovation work will include road repairs and road widening of specific portions from nine to eleven meters to reduce the travel time from Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam, to Cambodia. The project is proposed to start in 2021 with scheduled completion by 2023.  

The highway connects Vietnam’s highways No.1, N2 and the HCMC-Trung Luong-My Thuan Expressway. All three are major routes run from HCMC on through the Mekong Delta. 

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