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Laos, Malaysia sign agreement on railway cooperation

Date 28/08/2023 - 16:49:00 | 513 views
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The Lao National Railway Enterprise (LNRE) and Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB) – Malaysia’s largest railway company - have recently signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in a significant move to bolster their respective railway sectors and enhance regional trade within the Pan-Asian railway initiative, according to the Lao media.

The Lane Xang EMU train departs from the China-Laos Railway Vientiane station in the Lao capital Vientiane on December 3, 2021. (Photo: Xinhua)

Under the terms of the agreement, Laos will open its rail network to KTMB trains, enabling them to operate within its borders. Meanwhile, LNRE trains will also gain access to the Malaysian rail network. In this regard, both parties have committed to strictly adhering to international technical standards for railway operations.

This collaboration signifies a notable stride for Laos as it asserts itself as a pivotal player in the Pan-Asian Rail network, following the nearly two-year successful operations of the Laos-China Railway - a 409km link connecting Vientiane in Laos to Kunming in China.

By leveraging the high-speed railway, Laos is positioning itself as a vital logistics hub for Southeast Asia, particularly in trade with China, said KTMB’s Executive Officer, Mohammad Rani.

The Vientiane line is a crucial link in this network that offers three key routes: the central route linking Kunming, Laos, and Bangkok; the western route extending through Myanmar and Thailand; and the eastern route traversing Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand before converging in Bangkok and extending southwards towards Malaysia and Singapore. These options will forge fresh trade opportunities in Southeast Asia, ultimately driving down logistics costs as regional countries prioritize their infrastructure development.

The Pan-Asian Railway is a network of railways that connects Kunming, Singapore, and all the countries of mainland Southeast Asia. The Pan-Asia rail network is also part of the much more ambitious Trans-Asian Rail network, which plans to facilitate trade and travel between Europe and Asia./.

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