Infrastructure Update: December 12, 2018

Infrastructure Update | December 12, 2018
Authors: Sunita Kapoor and Daine Loh 
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

Planning Call on the Post ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting Infrastructure Roadshow 

As a follow up to the recent ASEAN Transports Ministers Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, the Council will be organising a “Post-ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting Roadshow” to the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam in the first quarter of 2019. The primary objective of this roadshow will be to demonstrate how the capabilities and experiences of U.S. companies can be utilized as solutions to current challenges across the full transport infrastructure value chain. The Council is organising a planning call to define the agenda for this engagement opportunity and to review committee priorities for 2019, on Monday, January 14, 2019, 8.00 - 9.00 pm (Washington DC) or Tuesday, January 15, 2019 9.00 - 10.00 am (Singapore). To register for the call, please click here. For any questions or comments, please contact Sunita Kapoor at skapoor@usasean.org.   

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Opportunities in Japanese-funded Infrastructure Projects in Philippines and ASEAN

The Philippines is one of the largest recipients of technical assistance provided by the Government of Japan through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The Japanese Government is also Philippines' top source of official development assistance, which are administered by JICA through the Special Terms for Economic Partnership (STEP) scheme. Under JICA STEP loans, while the prime contractors are limited to Japanese firms, there is no restriction on sub-contractors, provided the minimum Japanese content of 30% is met. This scheme allows other foreign companies such as U.S. suppliers to participate in JICA STEP loan-assisted projects as sub-contractors to Japanese firms.

As part of President Duterte's "Build, Build, Build" Initiative, there are ample of projects with potential opportunities for U.S. firms. Further, due to the 2020 Olympics in Japan and the volume of infrastructure projects in the Philippines, Japanese firms are reaching limits to their absorptive capacity, and require assistance. Where U.S. firms likely cannot compete in terms of cost, they are well positioned to be able to provide high tech and quality products, and expert project management and consulting skills. The Japanese are open to working with U.S. firms on these infrastructural projects, including those that our Members have shown interest in such as the New Clark City, North South Rail, Manila Subway Project, Makati Subway Project, and various other Airport Development Projects.

It may be most effective for U.S. firms to engage Japanese firms in the initial stages, during the "Detailed Design" and feasibility study stage. At these stages, U.S. firms have the highest chance of getting their products and services incorporated into the specifications due to the recognition for quality and technology. However, that does not discount the potential for engagement during the construction supervision stage, and directly with the main contractor once both are awarded. In addition the Council’s Manila office, the US Commercial Service office at the US Embassy-Manila are resources which help provide information about projects. Further, potential for collaborations may not be limited to just projects in the Philippines, but also others in the region under JICA loans. JICA notifications are public, and announced when Japanese firms have been funded to conduct feasibility or detailed design studies for Japanese financed projects in the ASEAN Region. It may be advantageous to reach out to these firms early to discuss collaboration or inclusion in project specifications.

Joint Ministerial Statement on the 24th ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting 

The 24th ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting (ATM) was held in Bangkok, Thailand on November 8, 2018. H.E. Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, Minister of Transport of Thailand, chaired the Meeting, with H.E Mr. Nguyen Van The, Minister of Transport of Viet Nam, who served as Vice-Chairperson. The 24th ATM Meeting was preceded by the 46th ASEAN Senior Transport Officials Meeting (STOM) and STOM meetings with Dialogue Partners held on 5-7 November 2018. 

The main outcomes of the meeting are as follows: 

  • Ministers agreed to strengthen the single aviation market by signing the Protocol 4 on "Co-Terminal Rights between Points within the Territory of any other ASEAN Member State" of the ASEAN Multilateral Agreement on the Full Liberalisation of Passenger Air Services (MAFLPAS) and supporting various other protocols by the relevant STOM working groups which they hope to conclude in the 25th ATM in 2019. 
  • Ministers welcomed the full ratification and implementation of the ASEAN Framework Agreement on the Facilitation of Inter-State Transport and the Facilitation of Cross-Border Transport of Passengers by Road Vehicles respectively. 
  • Ministers are intensifying efforts to realise the ASEAN Single Shipping Market. They welcomed the signing of the ASEAN MOU on Improvement of Safety Standards and Inspection for Non-Convention Ships and adoption of Guidelines for Safety Standards for Non-Convention Ships. 
  • Ministers also adopted the ASEAN Regional Oil Spill Contingency plan, which was developed to implement part of the MOU on ASEAN Cooperation Mechanism for Joint Oil Spill Preparedness and Response signed in 2014.
  • Ministers welcomed the adoption of various sustainable transport related documents 
  • Ministers also noted the positive progress in various cooperation and partnerships with Dialogue Partners including China, Japan, Republic of Korea, European Union and Germany.  

The full Joint Ministerial Statement may be found as attached here

Increasing Doubts over China’s Belt and Road Initiative 

Prabowo Subianto is slated to run against incumbent President Joko Widodo in the upcoming Indonesian Presidential elections in April 2019. Several foreign policy issues have been on the foreground of presidential campaigns, including Indonesia's infrastructure projects as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Prabowo had announced that he will review these existing projects if he wins the election. This is amidst the slow progress of projects, fear of debt traps, and increasing domestic anti-Chinese sentiment. These existing criticisms are also aligned with common criticisms used by Jokowi's rivals for being too close to the Chinese business community.  

In April, Indonesia and China signed five contracts worth more than US$23 billion under the belt and road. These are in addition to belt and road projects already underway in Indonesia such as the Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway (HSR) and Morowali Industrial Park in Sulawesi. Yet, progress of these projects has been slow. The HSR was designated as one of Jokowi’s national strategic projects since January 2016 but only 10% of the work has been completed to date. Sources have cited that this is due to issues of lengthy land clearance, acquisition of construction permits and other legal deadlocks.

Further, Prabowo had argued that Jokowi’s infrastructure drive is too expensive for the country’s state-owned enterprises and state budget, especially amid an economic downturn that has seen the rupiah’s value against the US dollar hit its lowest level since the 1998 Asian monetary crisis. This puts the country at risk of a debt trap, observable in some countries such as Sri Lanka and Zambia.

Domestically, anti-Chinese sentiment still runs high, including leaders of Islamic organization, retired military generals, former high-ranking officials, academics and public intellectuals.  According to a 2017 ISEAS nationwide survey, 62% of Indonesian adult population felt that close economic ties with China would bring little benefit. Issues of hiring Chinese mainland workers over Indonesia workers have also caused significant displeasure amongst the population, including recent controversies of Chinese working illegally on tourist visas.  

Prabowo’s move is in line with recent regional trends of pushback against the Belt and Road Initiative. Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has suspended two Chinese-funded projects worth US$26 billion since his election victory in May, while Myanmar negotiated a significant scaling back of a Chinese-funded port project on the Bay of Bengal over fears of unsustainable debt. 

Singapore launches Infrastructure Asia 

Singapore launched a new government agency “Infrastructure Asia” to spur investments and support regional infrastructure projects. A second initiative Singapore Infrastructure Dispute-Management Protocol was also introduced to help parties manage disputes and minimise the risk of time and costs overruns. As a regional financial hub, Singapore hopes to play the role of a neutral and reliable facilitator between private investors and Southeast Asian states. Other regional infrastructure development bodies based in Singapore include: Infrastructure Financing Center of Excellence (INFCOE) and the Asia Infrastructure Center of Excellence (AICOE) which is the “sister entity” to the ASEAN Infrastructure Fund (AIF) headquartered in Malaysia. The Asian Development Bank estimates that developing economies in Asia will need to invest about $26 trillion in infrastructure projects until 2030. Singapore aims to “increase [the] bankability” of projects and cooperate more closely with various stakeholders by leveraging on its comparative advantages of a robust ecosystem between project structuring and development, financial and legal advisory. In 2016 and 2017, Singapore was the largest overseas investment destination for China along the Belt and Road, capturing 22.3 percent of total investment outflow from China to the Belt and Road countries. With this initiative, Singapore may come to be an effective counterweight amid rising regional concerns of over-dependence on China and global protectionist trends.

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 

Business Mission to the ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting, November 8-9 

The US-ASEAN Business Council recently conducted a business mission to the ASEAN Transport Ministers (ATM) Meeting on 8-9 November, 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand. Led by Council’s Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director, Ambassador Michael Michalak, six U.S. companies engaged key officials on transport to discuss safety and opportunities to advance transport infrastructure development in ASEAN. This year marks the Council’s third consecutive meeting with all ten ASEAN Transport Ministers, Senior Transport Officials along with the Secretary-General of ASEAN, H.E. Dato Lim Jock Hoi. During the mission, the Council delegation reiterated that safety should be addressed holistically in all phases of infrastructure projects from planning, design, construction, turnover, operations and maintenance. For more information, a consolidated notes from our working luncheon may be found as attached here

Position Paper: Advancing Safety in Road and Rail Infrastructure Projects in ASEAN 

In lieu of the large infrastructural investments and development in the region, the Council believes that Safety should be a key topic to advance for increased regional discussions and regulatory harmonization. The Council would like to put forth that the operational safety of infrastructure projects, particularly for road and rail, must be accurately estimated by government planners and an integral part of project planning, execution and maintenance cycle. The Council has prepared a position paper that outlines how US companies can support ASEAN governments to elevate safety in road transport and railway infrastructure projects through the sharing of knowledge, expertise and best practices, thereby assisting in the increase of public awareness and the creation of programs with unique public value. The position paper can be reviewed here for more details.  

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
APEC
Boeing, Airbus fret over trade war as China displays aviation ambitions

ASEAN
Going green with infrastructure investments
SOUTH-EAST Asia’s aviation industry could contribute nearly US$100 billion a year to the regional economy if the Asean Single Aviation Market is brought to fruition, according to a new report from a Malaysian think-tank.
What will drive demand for electric cars?

Cambodia
Study to shed light on air connectivity in Mekong region
Singapore, Cambodia JV to raise mixed-use project in Tuol Kork

Indonesia
Indonesia's Lion Air to meet Boeing next week to discuss MAX series orders
Belt and Road investment under fire in Indonesia’s presidential elections
Government tells Go-Jek, Grab to settle problems with drivers
Lion Air: A deadly crash and a whole lot of questions for Boeing
Second Sulawesi wind farm project near completion
Boeing to issue safety advice on 737 MAX after Lion Air crash
Don't use Village Fund to develop infrastructure: Jokowi
Hyflux seeks ‘super priority’ for rescue financing from Indonesian investors

Laos
Leveraging Competitiveness Of Transport SMEs
Lao think tank suggests to maximize Laos-China railway
"Space data offers instant clues to cause of deadly Laos dam disaster": Stanford Professor

Malaysia
Malaysia's AirAsia X reports wider Q3 loss on higher fuel cost
Malaysia government will not give in to cabbies' demands to ban Grab: Transport minister
What Malaysia’s MRT has to learn from Indonesia’s BRT
Mersing Airport one of projects identified for next year

Myanmar
Govt explores possibility of cement plant in Chin
German firms eye Myanmar’s water sector
Myanmar’s first dry port opens for business
Myanmar, China sign agreement on new port project
Myanmar agrees smaller deal for China-backed port after 'debt-trap' concern
Gov’t Inks Agreement with Chinese Firm to Develop Kyaukphyu SEZ
Myanmar agrees smaller deal for China-backed port after 'debt-trap'...
China hopes to enhance economic corridor construction with Myanmar: CPC official
Road linking Myanmar and Thailand to be upgraded

Philippines
Labor shortage seen in construction
ICTSI opens country’s first container barge terminal
Japan commits P95-billion loan for 2 infrastructure projects
China consortium bags Manila-Bicol railway deal
Japan consortium wins bid to build P11-billion Metro subway
DICT, China Telecom eye submarine broadband infrastructure
FDI inflows, infra spending to support economic growth — DOF
PPA gets unsolicited offer for GenSan port
More infrastructure project tie-ups coming, says Neda chief, despite warning of China ODA ‘debt trap’
Xi begins visit as PHL, China ink 29 agreements
‘Turning point’ PHL visit by Xi Jinping seen to focus on belt-road initiative
PHL, Japan sign Exchange of Notes for MRT-3 Rehabilitation Project  
Ceza inks magnetic levitation train manufacturing agreement with two China companies
Philippines, Japan sign loan deal for New Bohol Airport expansion | BusinessWorld

Singapore
SilkAir to transfer 17 routes to Scoot ahead of merger with Singapore Airlines
Singapore, Jiangsu to deepen economic partnership, advance BRI with signing of 13 MOUs
Singapore, US renew agreement on infrastructure collaboration
ComfortDelGro to trial self-driving shuttle bus at NUS from March 2019
Hyflux gets second deadline extension for sale of Tuaspring plant
Asean Summit will see region's leaders discuss ways to take grouping forward

Thailand
Flat rate monthly taxi fare plan for unlimited trips
IATA wants faster work on runways
Treasury Department's land scheme ready in a few years
Bang Sue mega-station to operate by January 2021
Terminal put on ice pending feedback
BoI offers incentives to meet Bt300-bn EEC target
CP consortium submits bid for high-speed rail project in Thailand
BTS, CP consortia enter bid for airport train project
Traffic project tipped to cause chaos
Human resources added to EEC S-curve target industries
BMTA set to welcome new NGV bus fleet
Terminal 2 at U-Tapao airport to be fully opened in February

Vietnam
ACV to pour VNĐ4 trillion into upgrading Cát Bi International Airport
Vân Đồn International Airport getting ready for flights
Transport ministry to set higher emission standards for vehicles
New aviation decree to ease burden for firms
Vietnam's newest airline Bamboo gets aviation licence
Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu to develop logistics sector
MoT seeks US$40 million for Mỹ Thuận-Cần Thơ expressway project’s site clearance
Need for logistics space at all-time high: JLL
Vietjet inks US$6.5 billion Airbus deal for 50 planes
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
APEC

Boeing, Airbus fret over trade war as China displays aviation ambitions Channel News Asia 6th Nov 2018
The world's two largest planemakers signaled on Tuesday that they were keen to see an end to a bruising trade war between Washington and Beijing, as China opened its largest airshow with a display that showcased its aviation ambitions.

ASEAN

Going green with infrastructure investments The ASEAN post 21st Nov 2018
A 2017 report by Singaporean financial services group, DBS and the United Nations (UN) has indicated that ASEAN’s total green financing opportunities lie at US$3 trillion between 2016 and 2030. Investments in green infrastructure makes up 60 percent of this amount.

SOUTH-EAST Asia’s aviation industry could contribute nearly US$100 billion a year to the regional economy if the Asean Single Aviation Market is brought to fruition, according to a new report from a Malaysian think-tank. The Business Times 16th Nov 2018
SOUTH-EAST Asia’s aviation industry could contribute nearly US$100 billion a year to the regional economy if the Asean Single Aviation Market is brought to fruition, according to a new report from a Malaysian think-tank.

What will drive demand for electric cars? Channel News Asia 3rd Nov 2018
Mass-market plug-in electric vehicles have been around for about a decade, but growth in sales has been seen by industry watchers as slow. Even though China – the world’s biggest market for electric cars – spent more than US$7 billion on electric vehicle subsidies last year, only around 579,000 electric cars were sold in 2017 – about two per cent of its total market.

Cambodia

Study to shed light on air connectivity in Mekong region Khmer Times 19th Nov 2018
New research will soon shed light on the challenges and opportunities in boosting the number of air links between Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and China. Carried out as part of the Mekong Lancang Cooperation Framework, the study, which was launched in April and is expected to conclude in September next year, will provide insight into the most efficient ways of enhancing air connectivity between the four countries.

Singapore, Cambodia JV to raise mixed-use project in Tuol Kork Khmer Times 2nd Nov 2018
HLH Development Pte Ltd, a subsidiary of publicly listed Hong Lai Huat Group Limited, yesterday entered into a joint venture agreement with local conglomerate Royal Group of Companies to launch a mixed development project in Phnom Penh. The project, which will feature a park and a retail mall, is located in the heart of Tuol Kork district, one of the most affluent areas in the city, near the Royal University of Phnom Penh.

Indonesia

Indonesia's Lion Air to meet Boeing next week to discuss MAX series orders Channel News Asia 22nd Nov 2018
Indonesia's Lion Air plans to meet Boeing Co on Nov 30 to review the airline's orders for Boeing 737 MAX series planes in the period until 2035, Lion Air's director of safety and security Daniel Putut said on Thursday (Nov 22).

Belt and Road investment under fire in Indonesia’s presidential elections East Asia Forum 20th Nov 2018
As recently as 22 October 2018, Indonesia’s envoy for the BRI and Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Panjaitan visited Beijing to discuss how the BRI can help facilitate Jokowi’s infrastructure vision. That same day, Prabowo’s brother and his campaign’s communications director Hashim Djojohadikusumo announced in a press conference that Prabowo will review existing BRI projects in Indonesia if he wins the election.

Government tells Go-Jek, Grab to settle problems with drivers The Jakarta Post 19th Nov 2018
Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi has told ride-hailing apps Go-Jek and Grab to immediately settle issues with their drivers, who have held demonstrations to demand that their employers fulfill commitments. Members of the National Ride-Hailing App Drivers Alliance (Aliando) held a demonstration last week demanding the operators fulfill their promises, including to end drivers’ suspension, to provide training for the drivers and to eliminate income taxes. Budi said the ministry would try to act as a mediator to find a solution.

Lion Air: A deadly crash and a whole lot of questions for Boeing Channel News Asia 15th Nov 2018
Questions swirled on Wednesday (Nov 14) about how Boeing had failed to tell airlines and pilots about changes to an anti-stall system suspected in last month's fatal crash in Indonesia. Investigators are examining whether the system, which is meant to prevent aircraft from stalling, was tied to the crash of Lion Air flight 610.

Second Sulawesi wind farm project near completion The Jakarta Post 7th Nov 2018
Following President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo's inauguration of the 100-hectare Sidrap Wind Farm in Sindereng Rappang regency, South Sulawesi, a second wind farm in the province's Jeneponto regency is 97 percent complete.

Boeing to issue safety advice on 737 MAX after Lion Air crash Channel News Asia 7th Nov 2018
Boeing is planning to send a bulletin to 737 MAX jet operators as soon as Wednesday (Nov 7) advising them of the procedure for dealing with erroneous cockpit readings that could cause a dive, a person briefed on the matter told Reuters. The advice is based on preliminary information gathered in the investigation of a Lion Air flight that crashed in Indonesia last week killing all 189 on board, the person said.

Don't use Village Fund to develop infrastructure: Jokowi The Jakarta Post 5th Nov 2018
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has called on village heads not to use the Village Fund, which will soon be disbursed by the government, to construct village infrastructure, but rather to develop village economies and to encourage innovation to improve people’s welfare.

Hyflux seeks ‘super priority’ for rescue financing from Indonesian investors Channel News Asia 2nd Nov 2018
Beleaguered water treatment firm Hyflux on Friday (Nov 2) said it has made a court application to seek "super priority" status for rescue financing from its Indonesian investors. Seen as one of Singapore’s most successful business stories, the water treatment firm made the unexpected move on May 22 to apply for a court-supervised process to reorganise its business and liabilities, citing "prolonged weakness" in the local power market for its cash woes. The company was also on the lookout for buyers for its Tuaspring Integrated Water and Power Plant, which analysts said was key to trimming Hyflux's "humongous" debt load.

Laos

Leveraging Competitiveness Of Transport SMEs Lao News Agency 8th Nov 2018
Operational competitiveness of SME transport companies in the Lao PDR needs improvement when compared to other ASEAN Member States. The cross-border freight market is dominated by Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese operators. As Laos is exposed to increased competition from established ASEAN operators, Lao SME transport companies find it difficult to compete unless they streamline their operations, reduce time and increase vehicle utilization.

Lao think tank suggests to maximize Laos-China railway Xinhua 6th Nov 2018
The Lao government's top economic research agency has suggested that investment focus in areas that would make use of and maximize the benefits of the Laos-China railway. There is the possibility of building Special Economic Zones (SEZs) along the 411-km route of the high-speed railway, with a focus on developing industrial zones, the National Economic Research Institute (NERI) recommended in its latest survey, local daily Vientiane Times reported Tuesday.

"Space data offers instant clues to cause of deadly Laos dam disaster": Stanford Professor Laotian Times 5th Nov 2018
Space data gleaned from satellites has been used to create a hypothesis on the cause of the collapse of the saddle dam D at the Xe Pian Xe Namnoy project in Attepeu province. Bangkok-based professor Richard Meehan from Stanford University in the United States’ has been investigating the dam’s failure from Bangkok using new space technologies, according to a report published via the Blume Earthquake Engineering Center website on October 26.

Malaysia

Malaysia's AirAsia X reports wider Q3 loss on higher fuel cost Channel News Asia 21st Nov 2018
Malaysia's AirAsia X Bhd reported a sharply wider third-quarter net loss on Wednesday (Nov 21), the airline's second consecutive quarter in the red due to higher fuel prices. Volatile fuel costs have been a significant pressure on the long-haul budget offshoot of AirAsia Group Bhd, and analysts expect that will continue to be a challenge for the airline's expansion plans.

Malaysia government will not give in to cabbies' demands to ban Grab: Transport minister Channel News Asia 1st Nov 2018
The Malaysian government will not give in to the demands of taxi drivers who want ride-hailing services, in particular Grab, to be banned, Transport Minister Anthony Loke reiterated on Wednesday night (Oct 31).

What Malaysia’s MRT has to learn from Indonesia’s BRT South China Morning Post 23rd Nov 2018
Jakarta is far from perfect traffic-wise. But at least its public transport, namely the BRT, is doing what it is supposed to do: getting people moving cheaply and within a reasonable amount of time. That’s what all Southeast Asian cities should bear in mind as they examine the many options on the table. They could certainly take a cue from Jakarta.

Mersing Airport one of projects identified for next year The Edge Markets 12th Nov 2018
The Johor state government has identified several mega projects to be implemented next year, including construction of an airport in Mersing and a new bridge linking Johor Bahru and Singapore.

Myanmar

Govt explores possibility of cement plant in Chin Myanmar Times 2nd Nov 2018
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MNREC) is inviting expressions of interest (EOI) from foreign and local investors to conduct detailed feasibility studies and measurement of limestone deposits before considering the setting up of a cement plant in Chin State.

German firms eye Myanmar’s water sector The Myanmar Times 14th Nov 2018
German companies will be travelling to Yangon, Nay Pyi Taw and Mandalay to explore Myanmar’s market focusing on water and wastewater infrastructure and a conference on the topic is hosted by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and the German Water Partnership (GWP), in collaboration with the German Embassy in Yangon. “A lot of the infrastructures need to be modernised and upgraded in terms of water and waste water in the big cities, including Yangon and Mandalay, it is a starter. Our German expertise can help.

Myanmar’s first dry port opens for business The Myanmar Times 13th Nov 2018
KM Terminal & Logistics Ltd (KM) and Resource Group (RG) officially opened two separate dry port projects in Ywar Thar Gyi, Yangon yesterday. A dry port is an inland intermodal terminal directly connected by road or rail.

Myanmar, China sign agreement on new port project Bangkok Post 9th Nov 2018
Myanmar and China has signed an agreement on a controversial deep sea port project on the Bay of Bengal, allowing Beijing to press forward with its strategic plan to access the Indian ocean. The framework agreement for development of the first phase of the project, a key part of Beijing's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, was signed on Thursday between Set Aung, the deputy minister of Myanmar's Ministry of Planning and Finance, and Chang Zhenming, chairman of Beijing-based CITIC Group, at a ceremony in the capital.

Myanmar agrees smaller deal for China-backed port after 'debt-trap' concern Channel NewsAsia 8th Nov 2018
Myanmar on Thursday signed an agreement with China's state-run CITIC Group to begin work on a deep-sea port in the west of the country, after negotiations that saw the initial phase of the project scaled back over fears of a "debt trap". Myanmar Deputy Minister of Planning and Finance Set Aung said Myanmar and CITIC signed a "framework agreement" for the port in Kyauk Pyu, in conflict-hit coastal Rakhine State.

Gov’t Inks Agreement with Chinese Firm to Develop Kyaukphyu SEZ The Irrawaddy 8th Nov 2018
After many rounds of negotiations, the Myanmar government and a Chinese company have inked a framework agreement for the development of a special economic zone (SEZ) in Rakhine State. The project will offer China access to the Bay of Bengal while enhancing its regional connectivity as part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Thanks to its strategic location between three economically vibrant and dynamic markets—China, India and ASEAN—the Kyaukphyu SEZ is uniquely positioned to serve as a trade corridor connecting the three economies.

Myanmar agrees smaller deal for China-backed port after 'debt-trap'... Reuters 8th Nov 2018
Myanmar on Thursday signed an agreement with China’s state-run CITIC Group to begin work on a deep-sea port in the west of the country, after negotiations that saw the initial phase of the project scaled back over fears of a “debt trap”.

China hopes to enhance economic corridor construction with Myanmar: CPC official Xinhua 7th Nov 2018
China hopes to strengthen with Myanmar on the construction of the two countries' economic corridor under the framework of Belt and Road Initiative, head of the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Song Tao said here late Tuesday. Song made the remarks when he met with Chairperson of Myanmar's National League for Democracy (NLD) and State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi in Nay Pyi Taw.

Road linking Myanmar and Thailand to be upgraded Asia Times 5th Nov 2018
A proper highway will soon connect the planned special economic zone at Dawei in southeastern Myanmar with Thailand’s road network, The Irrawaddy, a Myanmar website, reported on November 2.

Philippines

Labor shortage seen in construction Phil Star Global 26th Nov 2018
Socialized housing developers are experiencing project delays amid a growing shortage of skilled laborers in the country as more workers opt to go overseas. According to the Organization of Socialized and Economic Housing Developers of the Philippines (OSHDP), industry players are now having a difficult time employing skilled laborers which, in turn, results in project delays.

ICTSI opens country’s first container barge terminal Phil Star Global 25th Nov 2018
The country’s first container barge terminal, the Cavite Gateway Terminal (CGT) of International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI), opened on Thursday, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said.

Japan commits P95-billion loan for 2 infrastructure projects Phil Star Global 23rd Nov 2018
Japan has committed to provide ¥206 billion (P95 billion) worth of loans for two infrastructure projects under the Duterte administration’s ambitious infrastructure program, according to the Department of Finance (DOF).

China consortium bags Manila-Bicol railway deal Phil Star Global 22nd Nov 2018
A Chinese consortium composed of China Railway Design Corp. and Guangzhou Wanan Construction Supervision Co. Ltd. (CRDC-WACC) has bagged the project management consultancy contract for the 639-kilometer Philippine National Railways South Long Haul project, which is expected to commence construction next year. The contract was signed on Saturday and was exchanged between the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and consortium officials on Tuesday, which was witnessed by President Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Japan consortium wins bid to build P11-billion Metro subway Phil Star Global 22nd Nov 2018
A consortium of six Japanese companies has bagged the P11-billion contract to build the Metro Manila Subway, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said yesterday. In a press briefing, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said Japanese consortium OCGlobal won the bidding for the construction of the country’s first ever subway system.

DICT, China Telecom eye submarine broadband infrastructure Phil Star Global 21st Nov 2018
State-owned China Telecommunications Corp. and the Philippine government are looking at the viability of putting up a submarine broadband infrastructure that will directly connect Hong Kong, the US and the Philippines, resulting in faster internet speed in the country.

FDI inflows, infra spending to support economic growth — DOF Phil Star Global 19th Nov 2018
Higher investments and strong public spending on the back of the Duterte administration’s Build Build Build program will help the economy recover its growth momentum despite economic headwinds facing the country, according to the Department of Finance (DOF).

PPA gets unsolicited offer for GenSan port Phil Star Global 5th Nov 2018
The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) has received another unsolicited proposal from the private sector to rehabilitate and upgrade one of the country’s ports following a recent unsolicited offer from Dennis Uy’s Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corp. to modernize the Sasa port in Davao City. The modernization of the Sasa port was part of the PPP program by the previous administration, but was scrapped. As far as the PPA is concerned, Santiago said the agency would only be entertaining unsolicited proposals for ports classified as Tiers 1 and 2.

More infrastructure project tie-ups coming, says Neda chief, despite warning of China ODA ‘debt trap’ BusinessMirror 22nd Nov 2018
With the recent signing of various agreements between the Philippines and China, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said Filipinos can expect more infrastructure project partnerships between Manila and Beijing. Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia told reporters on Wednesday that the memorandum of understanding he signed focuses on future cooperation with China on infrastructure buildup. This cooperation, Pernia said, included undertaking feasibility studies and project design. He added that cooperation also means preparing loans and technical assistance.

Xi begins visit as PHL, China ink 29 agreements Business World 20th Nov 2018
THE PHILIPPINES and China on Tuesday signed at least 29 bilateral agreements, covering a wide range of development initiatives such as infrastructure, agriculture, trade, monetary and humanitarian assistance, on the occasion of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the Philippines. The agreements include memoranda of understanding (MoU) on cooperation on oil and gas development; and cooperation on basic education, information and communications technology, and cultural exchange. Also signed were MoU on the Panda bonds issuance and on key infrastructure projects in the Davao region.

‘Turning point’ PHL visit by Xi Jinping seen to focus on belt-road initiative Business Mirror 20th Nov 2018
AMID the maritime dispute in the West Philippine Sea and just after the conclusion of the Asean summit and the Apec meetings where Beijing clashed with the US, Chinese President Xi Jinping will arrive in the Philippines today for a landmark two-day state visit. Malacañang said President Xi’s visit to the Philippines is a “turning point” in both countries’ histories, as this is his first state visit to the country and the first of its kind by a Chinese leader since 2005, reciprocating President Duterte’s earlier visit to China. Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. earlier said the focus of the visit will be the Philippines’s joining China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a massive trade and infrastructure project that aims to link Asia, Europe and Africa, covering at least 68 countries.

PHL, Japan sign Exchange of Notes for MRT-3 Rehabilitation Project   BusinessMirror 8th Nov 2018
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Embassy of Japan have signed the Exchange of Notes for the Metro Rail Transit 3 (MRT-3) Rehabilitation Project today, 07 November 2018. DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. and Ambassador of Japan to the Philippines Koji Haneda signed the Exchange of Notes, which was witnessed by Department of Transportation (DOTr) Undersecretary for Railways Timothy John Batan along with officials from the DFA, DOF, the Embassy of Japan, and JICA.

Ceza inks magnetic levitation train manufacturing agreement with two China companies BusinessMirror 8th Nov 2018
The Philippines may soon see its first manufacturing hub for magnetic levitation (maglev) trains, considered as the world’s fastest and most advanced commuter train, after the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (Ceza) entered into an agreement with two Chinese firms to put up the facility. In a news statement issued on Wednesday, Ceza said it has signed a tripartite memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Eminova Asset Management Ltd. and Hunan Goke Maglev Technology Development Ltd. for the establishment of a research and development center for production and training in Santa Ana, Cagayan. The project, if it pushes through, will be the first in the country.

Philippines, Japan sign loan deal for New Bohol Airport expansion | BusinessWorld Business World 6th Nov 2018
The Philippine and Japanese governments signed on Monday the supplemental loan agreement for the ongoing New Bohol Airport expansion project on Panglao Island.

Singapore

SilkAir to transfer 17 routes to Scoot ahead of merger with Singapore Airlines Channel News Asia 22nd Nov 2018
SilkAir will transfer its services for 17 destinations to budget airline Scoot ahead of its merger with Singapore Airlines (SIA). In an announcement on Thursday (Nov 22), SIA added that Scoot will also transfer flights to Shenzhen in China and Kochi in India to SilkAir, and flights for two destinations in India to Singapore Airlines.

Singapore, Jiangsu to deepen economic partnership, advance BRI with signing of 13 MOUs Channel News Asia 20th Nov 2018
New industrial parks could soon be built in Southeast Asia after Sembcorp Development and China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park Development signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Tuesday (Nov 20) to develop such parks in the region. This was one of the 13 MOUs signed during the 12th Singapore-Jiangsu Cooperation Council meeting in Singapore, aimed at deepening economic partnership and advancing the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Singapore, US renew agreement on infrastructure collaboration Channel News Asia 16th Nov 2018
An agreement between Singapore and the US on bilateral cooperation in infrastructure has been renewed, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said on Friday (Nov 16). This include areas in infrastructure, such as energy, providing support in the digital economy, as well as growth in financial technology (FinTech), e-commerce, smart city solutions and deep technology.

ComfortDelGro to trial self-driving shuttle bus at NUS from March 2019 Channel News Asia 12th Nov 2018
A self-driving shuttle bus service will be on trial at the National University of Singapore's (NUS) Kent Ridge campus from March 2019, said transport company ComfortDelGro, which will be operating the service. This will be the first time a transport operator is trialling an autonomous shuttle bus service, ComfortDelGro said in a news release on Monday (Nov 12).

Hyflux gets second deadline extension for sale of Tuaspring plant Channel News Asia 8th Nov 2018
In a second extension granted by Maybank, beleaguered water treatment firm Hyflux now has until Nov 29 to find a buyer and sign a binding agreement for its Tuaspring Integrated Water and Power Plant.

Asean Summit will see region's leaders discuss ways to take grouping forward The Straits Times 10th Nov 2018
Singapore is in the spotlight as leaders of all 10 Asean members gather for the 33rd Asean Summit and several related meetings at the Suntec Singapore Convention Center. ASEAN leaders are expected to adopt the Asean Smart Cities Framework. The framework covers the setting up of a network of smart cities in the region. Its initial 26 members include Bangkok, Cebu City and Yangon, and will tap technology and work with partners to improve public services and economic opportunities for residents, among others. The leaders will also take stock of Asean's achievements this year in strengthening the grouping's resilience and innovation - two key themes of Singapore's chairmanship - and discuss how to take Asean forward at a time of geopolitical and economic change.

Thailand

Flat rate monthly taxi fare plan for unlimited trips Bangkok Post 1st Nov 2018
A new taxi service with a flat monthly charge of up to 12,000 baht for unlimited trips will be launched in Bangkok next year in response to delays in official fare increases.

IATA wants faster work on runways Bangkok Post 1st Nov 2018
Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said he will ask the Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) to consider speeding up plans to improve ground safety conditions at Suvarnabhumi airport. Speaking after a meeting with International Air Transport Association (IATA) representatives and Thai aviation officials, Mr Arkhom said the IATA had expressed concerns about the condition of runways and taxiways at the airport.

Treasury Department's land scheme ready in a few years Bangkok Post 26th Nov 2018
The Treasury Department's land development scheme worth 70 billion baht will be ready for investment within the next 1-2 years, says director-general Amnuay Preemonwong. The scheme constitutes four large-scale projects and 200 small-scale projects.

Bang Sue mega-station to operate by January 2021 Bangkok Post 23rd Nov 2018
Bang Sue Central Station, which is set to replace Hua Lamphong as the capital's main rail transport hub, will be operational by January 2021, says Worawut Mala, acting governor of the State Railway of Thailand (SRT). He said construction of the station was expected to be completed by November of next year and the installation of the signal system should be wrapped up by mid-2020, followed by test runs in June.

Terminal put on ice pending feedback Bangkok Post 22nd Nov 2018
Airports of Thailand (AoT) has put the brakes on a second terminal scheduled to be built at Suvarnabhumi airport, pending steps to glean opinions from relevant parties including the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

BoI offers incentives to meet Bt300-bn EEC target The Nation 20th Nov 2018
In the first nine months of this year, Bt230.55 billion has been invested in the EEC, showing an increase of up to 117 per cent compared to the same period last year, Duangjai Asawachintachit, BoI secretary-general, said yesterday at Government House. She was there to meet with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. 

CP consortium submits bid for high-speed rail project in Thailand Global Railway Review 14th Nov 2018
Adiruth Thothaveesansuk, Vice Chairman, Special Projects Development Office of Charoen Pokphand Group (CP Group) has revealed that CP Group and its business alliance have formed a consortium and are prepared to bid for the High-Speed Rail Linked 3 Airports Project in Thailand. The high-speed rail project is worth $6.8 billion and will connect Don Mueang International and Suvarnabhumi International airports in Bangkok with U-Tapao located in the eastern province of Rayong.

BTS, CP consortia enter bid for airport train project Bangkok Post 12th Nov 2018
Two consortia submitted bids for a high-speed railway project linking Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-Tapao airports on the first day of bidding, with more expected to come on board later. BSR Joint Venture, a consortium led by BTS Group Holdings Plc, was the first group submitted the documents when the State Railway of Thailand started accepting the documents on Monday.

Traffic project tipped to cause chaos Bangkok Post 12th Nov 2018
The 900-day construction of three overpass projects over Na Ranong intersection is expected to trigger critical traffic woes around the area with motorists being advised to avoid the route. Thanu Tharakhate, of Construction Supervision Division under City Hall's Department of Public Works (DPW), said the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is in the process of publicising details of the project.

Human resources added to EEC S-curve target industries Bangkok Post 9th Nov 2018
The Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) committee will add human resources and education development to the 11 S-curve target industries previously selected. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who chairs the committee, had approved the addition, Kanit Sangsubhan, secretary-general of the EEC Office, said on Friday. The S-curve already comprises 11 targeted industries: next-generation cars; smart electronics; affluent, medical and wellness tourism; agriculture and biotechnology; food; robotics for industry; logistics and aviation; biofuels and biochemicals; digital; medical services; and defence. The addition will bring the total to 12.

BMTA set to welcome new NGV bus fleet Bangkok Post 9th Nov 2018
The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) will receive the second batch of 202 natural gas vehicle (NGV) buses from a supplier next month after a legal hurdle was cleared by a Central Administrative Court on Tuesday. The city bus regulator received the first batch of 100 NGV buses from SCN-CHO -- a joint venture between Scan Inter Plc (SCN) and Cho Thavee Plc (CHO) -- in March.

Terminal 2 at U-Tapao airport to be fully opened in February The Nation 8th Nov 2018
The second passenger terminal building at U-Tapao International Airport will be fully opened in February, the airport's director said. Rear Adm Luachai Sri-iamkul, the director of the airport, said the new terminal has been partially opened for domestic flight passengers and for inbound international flight passengers. He said the airport would have to build more toilets to cope with the high number of passengers and to open bidding for the commercial management of the building so that there would be shops and restaurants for passengers.

Vietnam

ACV to pour VNĐ4 trillion into upgrading Cát Bi International Airport Viet Nam News 27th Nov 2018
The Airports Corporation of Việt Nam (ACV) is focusing on accelerating investment in key projects at Cát Bi International Airport (Hải Phòng) with a total investment capital of about VNĐ4 trillion (US$170.1 million).

Vân Đồn International Airport getting ready for flights Viet Nam News 21st Nov 2018
Vân Đồn International Airport in the northern province of Quảng Ninh, developed by Sun Group, is on track to start commercial flights by the end of this year, with construction of the technical system near completion.

Transport ministry to set higher emission standards for vehicles Viet Nam News 15th Nov 2018
The Ministry of Transport (MoT) plans to tighten control of emissions of vehicles in circulation as well as used vehicles imported to curb air pollution.

New aviation decree to ease burden for firms Viet Nam News 13th Nov 2018
A Governmental decree drafted by the transport ministry to simplify business conditions for potential investors in the aviation sector has been sent to Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc for approval.

Vietnam's newest airline Bamboo gets aviation licence Channel News Asia 13th Nov 2018
Vietnam's newest carrier Bamboo Airways has been granted a licence to fly, officials and the airline said, paving the way for its inaugural flight in a region crowded with competitors.

Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu to develop logistics sector Viet Nam News 7th Nov 2018
The southern province of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu has set a goal to develop logistics into a major service sector with a focus on seaport development. As a sea-based economy, the province wants to increase the current capacity of its seaports, improve international transshipment services, and achieve throughput capacity of more than 100 million tonnes in coming years. The province will also continue to upgrade roads to improve connectivity and enhance goods and service circulation, local authorities have said.

MoT seeks US$40 million for Mỹ Thuận-Cần Thơ expressway project’s site clearance Viet Nam News 6th Nov 2018
The Ministry of Transport has proposed the Government allocate VNĐ932 billion (US$40 million) from contingency reserves for the Mỹ Thuận-Cần Thơ expressway project to entice businesses to invest in the project.

Need for logistics space at all-time high: JLL Viet Nam News 3rd Nov 2018
The reliance and need for logistics space was at an all-time high, driven by advancements in the e-commerce sector, according to real estate and investment management services firm Jones Lang Lasalle (JLL).

Vietjet inks US$6.5 billion Airbus deal for 50 planes Channel News Asia 2nd Nov 2018
Vietnam's fast-growing budget carrier VietJet famed for its bikini-clad air hostesses signed a deal with France's Airbus on Friday (Nov 2) for 50 planes worth US$6.5 billion, according to a copy of the deal.