Monday, August 23, 2010

Mekong Region Ripe For Development As Rail Freight Link Proceeds

ASEAN Countries Plan their Future
Shipping News Feature

ASIA – Following our coverage of the recent regional freight conference it seems ministers in China and the ASEAN countries are determined to press swiftly on with plans to develop the freight corridor linking the various countries concerned. At the 16th Greater Mekong Subregion ( GMS) Ministerial Meeting last week attended by all the countries alongside the river namely China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam plus senior representatives of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), all parties committed to push through the construction of a rail corridor and upgrading and harmonisation of the tracks and equipment.

If and when the scheme is completed it is estimated it will have cost around $9 billion but have an annual capacity of 20 plus million tonnes of freight (not to mention 3 million passengers). The likely route will link China to Southern Vietnam passing along the Thai/Laotian border and through Cambodia. The GMS participants have worked toward greater commercial cooperation for the past eighteen years and this latest meeting also aimed at fostering greater biodiversity and the promotion of renewable energy and pollution issues.

More logistics suppliers are to be found concentrating in the region which, if the rail corridor fulfils ambitions, will be more important economically. Andy Lim, newly appointed country manager for Damco in Cambodia commented this week on the growth potential of this emerging market and many other freight forwarders doubtless feel the same.