Infrastructure Update | August 1, 2019

Infrastructure Update | August 1, 2019
Authors: Jack Myint, Elizabeth Rickert, Chase Blazek
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

August 13-16: 2019 Thailand Business Mission 

August 20-22: 2019 Malaysia Business Mission

August 26-27: Indonesia Innovation Series and SME Workshop

September 16-18: Philippines Business Mission

October 2-3: Asia Infrastructure Forum, Singapore 

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

China-Laos Railway Progressing Rapidly, One Part of Pan-ASEAN Railway Project

Contractors have recently declared the China-Laos railway 50% complete and estimate it will be finished by December 2021. The US$7 billion project, designed and built by China, will connect the Lao capital of Vientiane with southwestern China’s Kunming via high-speed rail. Eventually, this route will link up with another line going from Thailand’s Nong Khai province (across the river from Vientiane) to Bangkok, which is projected to be finished by 2023. Both the China-Laos and cross-Thailand lines are part of a broader Trans-ASEAN high speed railway link that aims to eventually connect China to Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Malay peninsula before terminating in Singapore.

Upon completion, the China-Laos railway is expected to reduce Lao export costs (for more information, see the Council’s May 2 Laos Update) and strengthen its tourism industry by making travel cheaper and faster. For example, the travel time between Vientiane and Laos’ northern border with China will drop from two days to three hours. However, there are concerns that Laos might not benefit as much as it could from commerce passing through to other countries, especially when other parts of the pan-ASEAN railway are completed (for more information, see the Council’s October 10 Laos Update). In addition, if Laos’ domestic markets are unprepared to compete with those of broader Asia, this rail network would likely bring steep competition into the local market.

Greater connectivity could pair inexpensive labor from Laos with abundant capital in Singapore and China, resulting in more jobs for Laotians and cheaper projects for Asian investors. However, if China’s behavior is any marker of future cross-border projects, this win-win scenario may be difficult to achieve. Though the China-Laos railway has created over 5,000 jobs for Laos, the bulk of the work has been done by 30,000 Chinese workers, which is likely to have hampered capacity building and skills training among the local workforce. In addition, while China is committed to bankrolling 70 percent of the railway’s US$7 billion price tag, the Lao Government still requires Chinese loans to pay for the other 30 percent. Just recently, in late 2018, Laos had to pass an urgent budget request of US$60 million for the Ministry of Public Works and Transport to pay the country’s yearly portion of the bill.

Despite high costs and questionable benefits, the Lao Government may see few other options for rapid modernization. Without the railway, Laos would still be left with tourism and export markets underserved by inadequate and deficient infrastructure. Thus, all signs point to the China-Laos railway pushing full-speed ahead. In addition, some of Laos’ provincial governments are planning for an economic boom by improving infrastructures and drafting economic development plans for areas near the new rail lines. Though the success of such efforts hinges on the completion of the pan-ASEAN railway, this trend shows an opportunity for American firms to invest in and help develop regions that could might benefit from the project. Moreover, as the Lao government is fully committed to this project, secondary infrastructure tenders (not solely devoted to Chinese contractors) may be forthcoming as Vientiane begins to contemplate the economic ripple effects of China-Laos railway.

Indonesia plans to build bridge connecting Bintan and Batam Islands

Indonesia has announced plans to build its longest bridge, at 7km (4.35 mile), to connect Bintan and Batam Islands. These islands in the Malacca Strait, close to Singapore, will be connected as part of Indonesia’s efforts to develop industry and tourism in the area. Indonesia is building it now to capitalize on Singapore’s Changi Airport’s developing Terminal 5, which will have transport connections to Bintan. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo would like to connect the two islands because he has been working to advertise Batam, Indonesia’s only free trade zone, to investors looking to relocate factories out of China amid the U.S.-China trade war.

Construction of the bridge is expected to start in 2020 and take three to four years to complete. The bridge is estimated to cost Indonesia US$284.35 million, according to Indonesia’s Cabinet Secretariat. Since the beginning of President Jokowi’s second term in office, he has begun a string of large infrastructure projects. In total, he plans to begin more than US$400 billion worth of projects throughout his term.  In addition to the bridge connecting Bintan and Batam islands, President Jokowi’s administration is also considering building a bridge connecting Peninsular Malaysia with the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

US Companies to take part in ‘Build, Build, Build’

The Duterte administration’s infrastructure program “Build, Build, Build” targets a total rollout of 75 projects until the end of President Duterte’s presidency in 2022. Since the start of his administration, the National Economic and Development Authority has approved 37 of the 75 projects worth 1.564 Trillion Pesos (over US$ 78 billion). Most of these projects are funded by loans from the Export-Import Bank of China, the Japan International cooperation Agency, and the Asian Development Bank. In addition, the construction contracts were awarded to companies from China and Japan.

Two top government officials recently spoke about how U.S. business would like to become involved in the “Build, Build, Build” program. U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, said American private companies will take part in the “Build, Build, Build” program because the United States acknowledges it as a focus of the Philippines. Ambassador Kim’s statement was supported by the newly confirmed U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, David Stilwell, who in a statement, said, “We welcome progress on legislation which could provide more opportunities for U.S. companies, especially in infrastructure, as part of the Build, Build, Build program."

 
 
 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 

ASEAN
Jokowi, Balakhrisnan talk about infrastructure, investment issues
Vulnerable to climate change, ASEAN needs more investment into green infrastructure
China Admits One Belt, One Road has Commercial and Military Objectives
16 out of 69 infrastructure projects implemented under BEV2025
Cambodia, Thailand reconnect a Cold War-cut link

Brunei
Brunei, Sarawak explore new economic opportunities

Cambodia
PM: Gov’t spends $300M per month on infrastructure
Cambodia construction approvals hit $3.1bn in Q2 as China piles in
Shanxi helps construct Cambodia's largest airport

Indonesia
Cure to sinking Jakarta?
RPT-Indonesia president pledges more infrastructure, investment in second term
Indonesia to host infrastructure dialogue with Africa
Indonesian capital city to invest $5 billion in MRT extension
The struggle to define the Belt and Road Initiative in Indonesia
Plans for north Bali's Buleleng Airport aim to improve infrastructure and encourage more investment
Hong Kong investors to buy two Java toll roads
AIIB ready to provide funds for infrastructure projects
Indonesia Plans 4-Mile Sea Bridge Near Singapore
Economist: Development of SEZs in Java can sharpen inequality

Laos
Work on Mekong railway bridge running ahead of schedule
Lao Airlines to launch Vientiane-Kumamoto service in November
Heading south at speed: The China–Laos railway
Laos seeks Korea’s support for regional connectivity projects
Can the China–Laos railway keep on track?
Northern Lao province eyes development in conjunction with China-Laos railway

Malaysia
Malaysia resumes $10-bn China-backed rail project
Malaysia approves Penang LRT project
ECRL civil works for local contractors likely to be worth RM9b to RM11b
BN-era road projects will be completed by 2023, says Ongkili
Transport Ministry gives nod for Bayan Lepas LRT project, but with 30 conditions
Pua: Govt studying many new infrastructure projects, earlier freeze to fix inflated costs
Belt and Road Initiative offers US$4-5 trillion in business opportunities, says Fu
Malaysia seized $240m from Chinese company over pipeline project: Mahathir
Double-track rail project to resume
Malaysia’s transport minister says there could soon be ‘good news’ for JB-Singapore rail transit system

Myanmar
Work on City Side of Yangon-Dala Bridge to Start Next Month
Chin’s first major airport 50% complete
China-led port project inches ahead in Myanmar
Hanthawaddy Airport to link with an expressway and express railroad
Out to improve traffic safety in Myanmar
Authorities approve Htantabin, Hlegu projects
Myanmar’s countryside is emptying and its cities bursting
Insurance, banking and electricity to see more investor interest
Five-year judicial strategic plan being implemented for speedy judicial reform
Mandalay, Nay Pyi Taw courts implement case management plan

Philippines
DPWH halfway done with Build, Build, Build
Duterte’s ‘Build Build Build’ three years after
Government moving to build a local train industry
DOTr says construction of LRT-2 extension project now 61% complete
NEDA approves cost adjustments for Mindanao railway, Metro Manila bridges
U.S. companies to take part in 'Build, Build, Build'
Cost of Mindanao Railway Phase 1 jumps by 130% to P82.9 billion
US supports PH's P9-T infra program
What the Philippines' US$2.75 billion rail project means for commuters and the environment
Philippines, ADB sign loan for Malolos-Clark Railway project


Singapore
SMRT Trains’ loss widens in FY2019 as maintenance-related costs keep it in the red
Singapore infrastructure spending set to exceed $10bn per year
Circle Line begins upgrading works ahead of opening of 3 new stations in 2025
Transport Ministry rebut public's concern over profitability of local rail operators by stating HK and Tokyo metros charge significantly higher fares
Singapore to spend S$400 million upgrading, maintaining drains over two years
Singapore to refine ILS infrastructure to support innovation: Gillian Tan, MAS
Singapore's infrastructure gap expected to be one of the world's smallest by 2040
Singapore prepares for rising seas
Construction work begins for second phase of Tuas port

Thailand
Thailand's Chiang Mai light rail project opens first public hearing
Thailand’s Pan-Asia bullet train routes to connect Beijing and Singapore
Bids in for SRT's B11.4bn double-track rail project
Transport minister moving ahead with B880bn infrastructure projects
Dual-track upgrade attracts foreign bidders
Thailand seeking endorsement for 5 international airports
Saraburi to Chachoengsao line to open soon
Department of Highways urged to review motorway plan
BMA hammering out Skytrain deal
PTT has big ambitions for EECI project
NESDC mulls Southern Economic Corridor scheme
Cabinet sets second high-speed rail phase rolling

Vietnam
Vietnam seeks foreign investment in infrastructure projects
High speed railway requires careful thought
Hanoi hopes to strengthen ties with France in infrastructure construction
China seeks to boost trade ties with Vietnam
Authorities seek ways to speed up HCMC-Moc Bai road construction
Vietnam may spend 26 bln USD building North-South high-speed railway
HCM City eyes public-private partnership to bridge resource gap
HCM City's overhead electrical cables to be buried underground by 2025
Central Vietnam greets influx of infrastructure
Nearly $2 billion to be invested in Hà Nội’s third metro line

 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
ASEAN

Jokowi, Balakhrisnan talk about infrastructure, investment issues Antara News 17th Jul 2019
President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and Singaporean Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakhrisnan talked about infrastructure, investment, and development of human resources at the Bogor Palace, here, on Wednesday. "The President revealed his visions on last July 14. Of the five visions, at least three could be connected and offered for cooperation, namely, first on infrastructure, second on investment, and third on human resource development," Foreign Affairs Minister Retno LP Marsudi told the press here on Wednesday following the meeting.

Vulnerable to climate change, ASEAN needs more investment into green infrastructure The Scoop 16th Jul 2019
Over the next five years, ASEAN will need US$157 billion in annual infrastructure investment, but projects need to be “climate-proofed” to mitigate the region’s vulnerability to natural disasters and climate change, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB). As the ASEAN economy continues to grow rapidly, infrastructure projects need to be more sustainable and climate-responsive to mitigate the effects of extreme weather events. ' The transport sector is another industry which needs to see change by “reorienting the spending.” “Rather than building more and more roads, you might consider public mass transit.”

China Admits One Belt, One Road has Commercial and Military Objectives www.theepochtimes.com 11th Jul 2019
China’s Defense Minister Wei Fenghe publicly acknowledged for the first time that China’s $1.3 trillion “One Belt, One Road”  commercial initiative is also infused with military objectives. He made the remarks during a visit with a group of South Pacific and Caribbean military chiefs on July 10, according to Xinhua News Agency.

16 out of 69 infrastructure projects implemented under BEV2025 www.thesundaily.my 10th Jul 2019
A total of 16 out of the 69 priority infrastructure projects (PIPs) under BIMP-Eaga Vision 2025 (BEV2025) with an estimated cost of US$22.7 billion (RM94 billion) have been completed to-date while the remaining projects are in various stages of implementation. Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali (pix) said BEV2025 had set a target of being a region that is competitive and sustainable through various strategies, focusing on agriculture and fisheries development, usage of green technology in manufacturing and the development of the tourism sector. BEV2025 is a regional cooperation under the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-Eaga).

Cambodia, Thailand reconnect a Cold War-cut link Asia Times 9th Jul 2019
The new rail link ends one of the last infrastructural disruptions caused by the Cold War era conflict and will more tightly connect the peacetime economies of former staunch adversaries Thailand and Cambodia. The two neighbors recently extended an existing Bangkok-Aranyaprathet railway line which crosses eastern Thailand and ends at the Cambodian border. Repairs to a final 5.7-kilometer link between Aranyaprathet and Ban Klong Luk border station on the Thai side of the frontier were recently completed to tie the link together.

Brunei

Brunei, Sarawak explore new economic opportunities Borneo Bulletin Online 17th Jul 2019
Deputy Sarawak Chief Minister Dato Amar Awang Tengah bin Ali Hasan said Sarawak and Brunei Darussalam will be working closely to open new opportunities in various sectors of the economy, including tourism. The deputy chief minister was speaking to the Borneo Post on the sidelines of the audience ceremony with His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam at Istana Nurul Iman on Monday for the monarch’s 73rd birthday celebration.

Cambodia

PM: Gov’t spends $300M per month on infrastructure Phnom Penh Post 30th Jul 2019
The government spends around $300 million per month on infrastructure while earning “$500 million in revenue”, said Prime Minister Hun Sen. Included in the $300 million price tag are “constructions, repairs and salaries”. Speaking during an inspection on Monday of the Morodok Techo National Stadium’s construction site, located in Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changvar district, Hun Sen said the Kingdom’s economy is expected to grow 7.1 per cent this year.

Cambodia construction approvals hit $3.1bn in Q2 as China piles in Nikkei Asian Review 11th Jul 2019
Approved construction investment in Cambodia surged nearly 90% to $3.1 billion in the second quarter, according to new data, as "bullish" Chinese investors dominate a booming condominium market in Phnom Penh. The figures show an 86% rise compared to the first three months of the year, with the $3.1 billion, split across 1,008 projects. The figures also include infrastructure projects, a sector dominated by China, which is providing Cambodia billions in loans to build roads, bridges, ports and airports.

Shanxi helps construct Cambodia's largest airport Khmer Times 11th Jul 2019
Shanxi Mechanization Construction Group recently won the bid to build two sections of the new Siem Reap Angkor International Airport project in Cambodia for 290 million yuan ($42.16 million). The existing Angkor International Airport in Siem Reap, 5 kilometers from the famous ancient temple complex and world tourism site Angkor Wat, has only one runway.

Indonesia

Cure to sinking Jakarta? The Jakarta Post 30th Jul 2019
Years ago, water specialists from the Netherlands wrote a 12-page paper about sinking cities in the world. Jakarta, along with Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City, are high on the list as the fastest sinking cities. The paper proposed 10 solutions, among them are: restriction of groundwater extraction, natural and artificial recharge of aquifers, development of alternative water supply (instead of groundwater) and improving governance and decision-making.

RPT-Indonesia president pledges more infrastructure, investment in second term U.S. 30th Jul 2019
Indonesia’s recently re-elected President Joko Widodo on Sunday outlined his vision for a second term, pledging faster infrastructure development and more investment opportunities to create jobs and growth in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy. Hampered by soft commodity prices, Indonesia has struggled to lift growth above 5% in recent years even amid a boom in infrastructure building aimed at unlocking bottlenecks and distributing wealth outside the populous island of Java. In a rally attended by thousands of supporters, Widodo said infrastructure development - a key agenda in his first term - would be accelerated to connect ports and airports across the archipelago to agricultural and tourism centres. He also emphasised plans to improve human resources in a country that is lagging some of its neighbours in developing a skilled workforce. This would include investing in vocational schools and creating an institution to manage Indonesian talent, as well as tapping the skills of those who settled overseas, he said.

Indonesia to host infrastructure dialogue with Africa The Jakarta Post 25th Jul 2019
Indonesia is set to hold the Indonesia-Africa Infrastructure Dialogue (IAID) next month to follow up on its newfound interest in Africa and to make its presence on the continent felt by expanding its trade and investment portfolio. Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan and Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi discussed the preparations for the event with representatives of African countries, businesses and representatives of Indonesian state-owned enterprises on Wednesday.

Indonesian capital city to invest $5 billion in MRT extension Reuters 25th Jul 2019
The operator of the Indonesian capital’s mass rapid transit system said on Thursday it plans to extend the track over the next seven years, estimating a total investment of 75.5 trillion rupiah ($5.40 billion). Jakarta suffers from some of the worst traffic jams in the world and its governor has pledged to invest more than $40 billion in the next 10 years to upgrade its transportation and other infrastructure. The city’s first $3 billion MRT system opened in March, running 8 kilometers (5 miles) partially underground from the south to central Jakarta along main thoroughfares.

The struggle to define the Belt and Road Initiative in Indonesia The Jakarta Post 24th Jul 2019
In 2015, when President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo unveiled an ambitious plan to build the roads, ports and railways desperately needed to advance Indonesia’s economy, he realized that he could not rely on domestic funds alone for the targeted US$465 billion of investment by 2019. Back then, Chinese investment to Indonesia was low, lagging behind even Malaysia. But within five years, China went from being a peripheral investor in the Indonesian economy to Indonesia’s third-largest investor.

Plans for north Bali's Buleleng Airport aim to improve infrastructure and encourage more investment Gapura Bali 17th Jul 2019
Local news wires are reporting that local government has revised Regional Regulation No. 16 of 2009, which concerns itself with provincial spatial planning, (RTRWP), to accommodate the construction of the new airport and its accompanying infrastructural developments.

Hong Kong investors to buy two Java toll roads The Jakarta Post 12th Jul 2019
Toll road developer PT Waskita Toll Road (WTR), a subsidiary of state-owned construction company PT Waskita Karya, is close to selling two toll roads in East Java and Central Java --   Surakarta-Ngawi and Ngawi-Kertosono – to Hong Kong investors.

AIIB ready to provide funds for infrastructure projects The Jakarta Post 11th Jul 2019
The Asian infrastructure investment bank (AIIB) is ready to help Indonesia develop its infrastructure in President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s second term in office.President Jokowi previously said he would focus on human capital development in his second term, but infrastructure developments would remain a priority as well.AIIB chief investment officer DJ Pandian said the agency was prepared to help finance infrastructure development in Southeast Asia’s largest economy.

Indonesia Plans 4-Mile Sea Bridge Near Singapore Bloomberg.com 11th Jul 2019
Indonesia plans to start building its longest sea bridge next year to connect two islands near Singapore and boost growth and trade with the neighboring hub. The seven-kilometer (4.3-mile) bridge connecting Batam and Bintan will cost as much as 4 trillion rupiah ($284 million) and construction is set to take three to four years, the country’s cabinet secretariat said in a statement on Thursday. President Joko Widodo, who has secured his second term in office, is embarking on a more than $400 billion infrastructure push. The government wants to re-position Batam as an alternative shipping and manufacturing hub to Singapore with a potential to draw $60 billion in new investment.

Economist: Development of SEZs in Java can sharpen inequality Katadata 24th Jul 2019
Some economists highlight the government's plan to open industrial Special Economic Zones (KEK ) on Java. This is considered to be able to make the government more difficult to overcome the problem of development inequality in the region. The Economist Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (Indef) Ahmad Heri Firdaus said that equity can be difficult to achieve in line with the policy.

Laos

Work on Mekong railway bridge running ahead of schedule Eleven Media Group Co., Ltd 30th Jul 2019
The companies in charge of the bridge and railway construction project on Sunday invited local and foreign media to attend a ceremony to celebrate the connection of the two sides of the bridge. The connection was completed seven months ahead of schedule, significantly accelerating the overall construction of the 414-km railway, which is slated for completion in 2021, according to information made available at the ceremony. The 1,458.9-metre long bridge spans the Mekong between central Luang Prabang and the other side of the river in Chomphet district. The bridge has five main piers including 34 spans planted in the river.

Lao Airlines to launch Vientiane-Kumamoto service in November The Japan Times 26th Jul 2019
Lao Airlines said Thursday it is planning to launch regular flights in November connecting the Laotian capital of Vientiane and the resort town of Luang Prabang with Kumamoto in Kyushu. The route will offer the first regular flights connecting Japan and Laos. Lao Airlines President Bounma Chanthavongsa said in a news conference in Kumamoto that his airline is preparing to file an application for the planned service with Japan’s transport ministry.

Heading south at speed: The China–Laos railway The Thaiger 15th Jul 2019
Construction on the China–Laos railway began in December 2016 and involves six Chinese contractors from subsidiaries of the state-owned China Railway Group. Contractors now report that it’s half-finished and is on schedule to be completed by December 2021. The 414 kilometre railway line stretches from Boten, on Laos’ northern border with China, to Vientiane, the Laos capital. It will then connect with Thailand to Malaysia and Singapore as part of a pan-Asia railway that will eventually north-south from Kunming in Yunnan province all the way to Singapore.

Laos seeks Korea’s support for regional connectivity projects The Korea Herald 15th Jul 2019
Sharing borders with five member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Laos is seeking to facilitate the connectivity of infrastructure across the region by strengthening cooperation with South Korea. Over the last few decades, the Laotian government has committed to developing policies that capture the potential economic benefits of infrastructure investment that transforms regional connectivity. Currently, the Korean government is taking part in projects to protect the Mekong river bank in Vientiane and Champasack. Korea is also participating in a feasibility study of the ASEAN Highway, a railway linking Laos and Vietnam, as part of ASEAN Connectivity 2025, a broader initiative adopted by leaders of ASEAN.

Can the China–Laos railway keep on track? East Asia Forum 12th Jul 2019
Of all the railway projects that Chinese companies are constructing in Southeast Asia, the China–Laos railway has proceeded most rapidly. Construction began in December 2016 and swung into full gear by mid-2017, involving six Chinese contractors from subsidiaries of the state-owned China Railway Group. Early this year, it was reported to be half-finished and is on schedule to be completed by December 2021. The 414-kilometre railway line stretches from Boten, on Laos’ northern border with China, to Vientiane. It is slated to connect with Thailand to the south as part of a pan-Asia railway that will run from Kunming in Yunnan province to Singapore.

Northern Lao province eyes development in conjunction with China-Laos railway Xinhua 10th Jul 2019
Oudomxay, a province in northern Laos some 400 km north of Lao capital Vientiane, is looking to improve its infrastructure to accommodate the new China-Laos railway and boost development. Oudomxay Provincial Governor Khamphan Pheuyyavong said the under-construction railway will run for 126.6 km through the province, so officials are looking at ways to capitalize on this by bolstering business alongside the railway, Local Daily Vientiane Times reported on Wednesday.

Malaysia

Malaysia resumes $10-bn China-backed rail project The Jakarta Post 25th Jul 2019
Malaysia on Thursday restarted a $10-billion, China-backed rail project that is part of Beijing's global infrastructure drive following its suspension last year when a corruption-plagued government was ejected from power. The 640-kilometer (400-mile) line will link northeast Malaysia, near the Thai border, to the country's main port on the busy Strait of Malacca in the west, forming part of a network it is hoped will eventually run from southern China right through Southeast Asia. Loke said 85 percent of the project's cost will be financed by funding from China's Export-Import Bank.

Malaysia approves Penang LRT project International Railway Journal 18th Jul 2019
Transport minister Mr Anthony Loke said the project had been approved following assessment of a detailed study submitted to the ministry by Penang Economic Planning Unit. The north-south line will link Komtar in the island’s capital George Town with Jelutong, Gelugor Penang International Airport and Bayan Lepas, where it will serve the Penang South Reclamation (PSR) development.

ECRL civil works for local contractors likely to be worth RM9b to RM11b Edgeprop.my 18th Jul 2019
The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) is scheduled for relaunch on July 25, said Transport Minister Anthony Loke. This is good news in terms of getting the project off the ground following the signing of the supplementary agreement (SA) between Malaysia Rail Link (MRL) and China Communications Construction Co (CCCC) in April this year. The planned relaunch follows the prequalification rounds at end-May 19, which attracted an overwhelming 1,321 submissions across all levels of contractors. MRL and CCCC will proceed with the shortlisting process prior to the first round of tenders at end-3Q19.

BN-era road projects will be completed by 2023, says Ongkili Free Malaysia Today 18th Jul 2019
Some 9,000 villagers in Kota Marudu can look forward to a sealed road between Samparita and Sonsogon Magandai by 2023, said Kota Marudu MP Maximus Ongkili. The Parti Bersatu Sabah president told reporters that an allocation of RM279 million had been approved under the 11th Malaysia Plan for the construction of the 40 km stretch of road and a bridge. The rural development ministry has stated in a reply to Ongkili in the Dewan Rakyat that the project is in the design stage. Tenders would be called by November.

Transport Ministry gives nod for Bayan Lepas LRT project, but with 30 conditions Malay Mail 17th Jul 2019
The Transport Ministry has approved the 30-kilometre Komtar-Bayan Lepas Light Rail Transit (LRT) project which is part of the Penang Transport Masterplan (PTMP). The application made by the State Economic Planning Division (BPEN) was approved yesterday and was subject to 30 specific conditions, said its minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook in a statement today. The conditions come under Sections 83 and 84 of the Land Public Transport Act 2010.

Pua: Govt studying many new infrastructure projects, earlier freeze to fix inflated costs Malay Mail 16th Jul 2019
The government is studying multiple infrastructure projects for implementation to ensure value for money, the Finance Ministry said. Tony Pua, political secretary to Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, said the government’s previous suspension of projects was merely to address the overly-inflated costs, adding that those shown to be feasible will be rolled out in future, The Star reported today. Pua said the government’s stance is that infrastructure “needs to be built”.

Belt and Road Initiative offers US$4-5 trillion in business opportunities, says Fu The Star Online 8th Jul 2019
The business community should look out for investment opportunities in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) routes as total investments led by China are estimated to rise four- to five-fold from the initial US$1 trillion (RM4.2 trillion), says Datuk Fu Ah Kiow.

Malaysia seized $240m from Chinese company over pipeline project: Mahathir The Jakarta Post 16th Jul 2019
Malaysia seized more than 1 billion ringgit ($243.5 million) from a bank account of state-owned China Petroleum Pipeline Engineering (CPP) over incomplete pipeline projects, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Monday. The seizure comes nearly a year after Malaysia suspended two pipeline projects, valued at $2.3 billion, on which CPP was the lead contractor. CPP is a unit of state energy giant China National Petroleum Corp. "I understand that money for 80% of the pipeline was paid, but the work completed was only 13%," Mahathir told reporters. "So the government is entitled to get back the money, since the project was cancelled."

Double-track rail project to resume The Star Online 9th Jul 2019
Phase two of the project to rehabilitate the double-track railway lines around the Klang Valley is expected to resume soon at a lower price, with the contract to be re-awarded to the original contractors. No competitive tender was called for the project, sources said. According to sources, Dhaya Maju Infrastructure (Asia) Sdn Bhd (DMIA) and its partner Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT) have secured the job at a cost slightly above RM3bil. Sources said the second phase of the Klang Valley Double Track (KVDT) could cost just above RM3bil, which is substantially lower than the original price tag of RM5.9bil.

Malaysia’s transport minister says there could soon be ‘good news’ for JB-Singapore rail transit system Business Insider Singapore 8th Jul 2019
Some of Malaysia and Singapore’s previously shelved rail projects may be given a new lease of life or resume progress as more optimistic news seem to be on the horizon, a Malaysia minister announced. Malaysian transport minister Anthony Loke was quoted as saying at the Women in Rail Malaysia Conference on Monday (July 8) that “good news” pertaining to the Rapid Transit System (RTS) would likely come before the end of September but did not elaborate on the details. The Malaysia and Singapore governments had earlier agreed to further negotiate the project to reduce its initial estimated RM4 billion (US$966 million) cost.

Myanmar

Work on City Side of Yangon-Dala Bridge to Start Next Month The Irrawaddy 26th Jul 2019
Construction on the Yangon side of the planned Yangon-Dala Bridge will begin next month, regional Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein said at a regional investment committee meeting on Wednesday. Spanning the Yangon River, the bridge—also known as the Korea-Myanmar Friendship Bridge, as it is funded by South Korea’s Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF)—will link downtown Yangon and Dala Township. The bridge is scheduled to be complete in early 2022, the chief minister said. “Work on the approach road on the Yangon side will begin next month. Construction materials have already arrived,” he said.

Chin’s first major airport 50% complete The Myanmar Times 17th Jul 2019
Surbung Airport will be the first major airport in the state when it opens in September 2020, U Ye Htut Aung, Deputy Director General of the Department of Civil Aviation, told Myanmar Times in February. Construction of the K 30 billion airport, which began in 2016-17, had originally been scheduled for completion in 2021-22. But earlier this year, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint gave instructions for construction to be completed in 2020 and for the airport to begin operating in September. 

China-led port project inches ahead in Myanmar Asia Times 15th Jul 2019
Myanmar’s US$1.3 billion Kyaukphyu deep-sea port project, a China-backed scheme under Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), is one small step closer to realization. CITIC Group Corporation, the Chinese state firm leading the project, started this month a legally required environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) and preliminary geological survey, the first signs of on-the-ground progress for the mega-project.

Hanthawaddy Airport to link with an expressway and express railroad Eleven Media Group Co., Ltd 11th Jul 2019
The first phase of Hanthawaddy international airport project will link with an expressway and second phase will link with an express railroad, according to state owned newspaper quoting an official from the Ministry of Transportation and Communications. Department for Civil Aviation (DCA) will provide about 3,600 hectares of land for the new airport project and it will be linked with a railroad network.

Out to improve traffic safety in Myanmar The Myanmar Times 30th Jul 2019
Anyone new to Myanmar will be cautious when crossing the roads, even when the green walk light is on. Rules are unclear, for both pedestrians and cars. Though efforts to improve safety on the roads have been made, like introducing pedestrian walkway lights and new zebra crossings, the city roads are still somewhat chaotic. All this may change, with a new Road Safety Audit (RSA) and Road Safety Inspection (RSI) system introduced in the country. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was recently signed on 13 July by the Myanmar Engineering Society, Su Foundation and Total E&P Myanmar (Yadanar CSR Programme) to initiate a review of the problems of road safety in the country.

Authorities approve Htantabin, Hlegu projects The Myanmar Times 18th Jul 2019
Members of Parliament (MPs) for the regional Hluttaw of Yangon has finally given the green light for the Htantabin and Hlegu industrial park projects to the north of Yangon city. The MPs approved both projects after Minister of Karen National Affairs Naw Pang Thinzar Myo, who is also the chair of the Yangon Region Investment Committee (YRIC), gave more details on the projects, including their backers. The Hluttaw approved both projects, part of the 11 new industrial parks proposed in 11 mostly rural townships as announced at the Yangon Investment Forum, on July 12.The projects, according to YRIC secretary U Myo Khaing Oo, are expected to start early next year.

Myanmar’s countryside is emptying and its cities bursting The Economist 13th Jul 2019
When she moved from her village to Yangon, Myanmar’s biggest city, Ma Thet Thet Nwe was afraid. Her husband had just died and she needed to provide for five children. She found work at a garment factory in Hlaingthaya, an industrial zone, and saved enough money to buy a one-room, bamboo house in a nearby shantytown. Now she is pleased with her lot. Two of her daughters work in garment factories, while she cares for her other children and runs a roadside café. Factory work is easy, she says with a smile—much better than toiling in the fields.

Insurance, banking and electricity to see more investor interest The Myanmar Times 11th Jul 2019
While the oil and gas industry has the seen the most interest from investors, banking and financial services, telecommunications and the manufacturing industries are expected to be the focus in the years ahead as the country’s economy grows. Data from the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA) shows that since 2016, the manufacturing industries and telecommunications have seen the most interest from foreign investors. DICA data showed that the manufacturing industries have seen between US$1 billion and US$2 billion in investments per year while telecommunications have received US$2 billion per year in the last three years.

Five-year judicial strategic plan being implemented for speedy judicial reform Eleven Media Group Co., Ltd 10th Jul 2019
A five-year judicial strategic plan (2018-2022) is being implemented for speedy reform of Myanmar's judicial sector, according to a work coordination meeting on the implementation of Case Management Program-CMP with regional-level judicial departments and organizations. Based on the results of CMP implemented at Hlaingthaya Township Court in Yangon Region in 2015, East District Court also implemented it on August 1, 2018. Again, the CMP is being implemented at township courts in East District, West District Court and township courts in West District beginning from July 1, said Yangon Region law officer Kyaw Swar Nyein. 

Mandalay, Nay Pyi Taw courts implement case management plan The Myanmar Times 3rd Jul 2019
Fifteen courts in Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw are implementing a case management plan to try to restore the public’s faith in the judicial system. Part of the Union Supreme Court’s Judicial Strategic Plan for 2018-22, the three-part programme will carry out five action plans. A pilot project will be carried out in six townships in Mandalay and seven townships in Nay Pyi Taw’s Dekkhinathiri district. The President Office has instructed relevant agencies to cooperate with the project, said Mandalay Region High Court Chief Justice U Soe Thein.

Philippines

DPWH halfway done with Build, Build, Build philstar.com 25th Jul 2019
The Duterte administration’s ambitious infrastructure program may see some big-ticket projects incomplete before the President’s term ends in 2022, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said yesterday. With more than 9,000 kilometers of road; 2,000 bridges and 4,000 flood control projects and thousands of other projects, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar said the government was halfway done with the Build, Build, Build program. “I would say we’re halfway toward our goal,” Villar said during the weekly Kapihan sa Manila Bay news forum yesterday..

Duterte’s ‘Build Build Build’ three years after Manila Bulletin News 21st Jul 2019
The “Build, Build, Build” program is the Duterte administration’s medium-term goal to increase infrastructure spending from 5.4 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2017, to 7.3 percent by the end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term in 2022. This is higher than the 2.4 percent average recorded by the past six administrations in the last five decades — and the highest budget allocation for infrastructure in Philippine history.

Government moving to build a local train industry BusinessMirror 18th Jul 2019
THE Philippines may soon source trains for future rail projects from Filipino suppliers as the government is already taking steps to build a local train industry, according to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). Science Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña told BusinessMirror that the agency is now in talks with possible investors and the National Development Corp. (NDC) to jump-start these efforts. De la Peña revealed the plans on the sidelines of a briefing at the opening on Wednesday of the National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) in Pasay City.

NEDA approves cost adjustments for Mindanao railway, Metro Manila bridges philstar.com 16th Jul 2019
The Cabinet-level Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has approved the increase in project cost for the Mindanao Railway and Metro Manila Bridges Project to cover the extensions in scope and to speed up their implementation. Approved was the increase in cost for the Mindanao Railway Project Phase 1-Tagum-Davao-Digos Segment (MRP-TDD) to P82.9 billion from the previously approved project cost of P35.9 billion in 2017 to cover changes in the cost of structural and construction works that comes with the extended scope.

U.S. companies to take part in 'Build, Build, Build' CNN 16th Jul 2019
The United States is supporting the Duterte administration's ambitious infrastructure program, its ambassador to Manila said Tuesday. US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim on Tuesday said American private companies will take part in "major" infrastructure projects under the Philippines' "Build, Build, Build" program, which targets to roll out a total of 75 projects until 2022.

Cost of Mindanao Railway Phase 1 jumps by 130% to P82.9 billion Rappler 16th Jul 2019
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board's Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee (ICC-CabCom) approved a massive price increase for Phase 1 of the Mindanao Railway project to cover the changes in cost of construction works. In a statement on Monday, July 15, NEDA said it approved a 130% cost increase to P82.9 billion from the previously approved cost of P35.9 billion. Phase 1 will traverse Tagum City, Davao City, and Digos City, spanning over 100 kilometers. It aims to reduce travel time from 3.5 hours to just 1.3 hours.

US supports PH's P9-T infra program Republic of the Philippines 16th Jul 2019
The United States government supports the Philippines' multi-billion dollar infrastructure program, Ambassador Sung Kim said Tuesday following the recently concluded 8th Bilateral Strategic Dialogue between the two states in Manila. The initiative that has around USD180 billion (PHP9 trillion) in the budget over the next five years, targets to roll out road construction projects, irrigation systems, and energy and flood control facilities.

What the Philippines' US$2.75 billion rail project means for commuters and the environment Eco-Business 16th Jul 2019
The 53.1km Malolos–Clark Railway Project will link Malolos, a suburb of Metro Manila, to the Clark economic zone, a thriving hub of urban development in Central Luzon. The project is part of the larger North–South Commuter Railway, a suburban railway network spanning 163km from New Clark City in Tarlac province in the north to Calamba in Laguna province in the south of Manila. The new rail line could ferry about 342,000 passengers a day by 2025, reducing congestion on parallel roads by 10 per cent, estimated the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which is loaning US$2.75 billion to the Philippines—the multi-lateral bank’s single largest infrastructure project financing to date.

Philippines, ADB sign loan for Malolos-Clark Railway project Xinhua 11th Jul 2019
The Philippine government and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed on Thursday a 1.3-billion-U.S. dollar loan, the first tranche of a total of 2.75-billion-U.S. dollar loan, for the Malolos-Clark Railway Project. The Malolos-Clark railway is part of the Philippine government's North-South Commuter Railway project, which aims to link New Clark City to Calamba by 2025.

Singapore

SMRT Trains’ loss widens in FY2019 as maintenance-related costs keep it in the red CNA 31st Jul 2019
Local rail operator SMRT Trains on Wednesday (Jul 31) announced a net loss of S$155.3 million for Financial Year (FY) 2019, nearly double that of the previous year’s S$86 million loss. The company, a subsidiary of SMRT Corporation, said on its website that the loss was mainly due to an increase in operating expenses, particularly repairs and maintenance costs. Staff and electricity costs also went up due to higher headcount and higher tariffs and consumption respectively, it said.

Singapore infrastructure spending set to exceed $10bn per year Verdict Designbuild 29th Jul 2019
The quality of infrastructure in Singapore is among the highest in the world, reflecting high levels of investment supported by years of political stability and general economic prosperity. The government is continuing to invest in developing the country’s infrastructure, particularly its transport networks, and low levels of risk ensure Singapore remains an attractive destination for private institutions investing in infrastructure projects through public-private funding initiatives. The government aims to expand the length of the country’s railway network, from 230km in 2018 to 360km by 2030, increasing the density and reach of mass rapid transit (MRT), so that eight out of ten households will be within a ten-minute walk from a train station.

Circle Line begins upgrading works ahead of opening of 3 new stations in 2025 CNA 25th Jul 2019
A series of upgrading works has begun on the Circle Line (CCL) to prepare for the opening of Circle Line Stage 6 (CCL6), the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and SMRT said in a joint news release on Thursday (Jul 25). The enhancements will allow the decade-old CCL to support a larger CCL network and train fleet when three new CCL6 stations start operating in 2025.  Construction of the three new CCL6 stations – Keppel, Cantonment and Prince Edward Road stations – commenced in 2017. Works are progressing smoothly and are expected to be completed on schedule, said LTA and SMRT.

Transport Ministry rebut public's concern over profitability of local rail operators by stating HK and Tokyo metros charge significantly higher fares The Online Citizen 20th Jul 2019
A member of the public, Paul Chan Poh Hoi, wrote to ST Forum on Thu (18 Jul) arguing that profitability should not be main concern for the rail operators in Singapore. Given the “public” nature of public transport, a rail system should be measured by its ability to serve the people, and not its ability to generate additional wealth for the operators of state-owned assets, Mr Chan said.

Singapore to spend S$400 million upgrading, maintaining drains over two years CNA 17th Jul 2019
As part of efforts to boost flood resilience, Singapore will spend an additional S$400 million to upgrade and maintain drains over the next two years, announced Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli on Wednesday. Speaking at the 2019 Partners for the Environment forum, Mr Masagos said Singapore remains vulnerable to the effects of climate change, despite previous efforts to protect the environment and improve resilience.

Singapore to refine ILS infrastructure to support innovation: Gillian Tan, MAS Artemis.bm 16th Jul 2019
Singapore is acutely aware that it needs to continue to innovate if it is to achieve its goal of becoming a key insurance-linked securities (ILS) hub for the Asia region, as well as to support the widest range of ILS transactions possible.Speaking at our ILS Asia 2019 conference held in Singapore last week, Gillian Tan, Executive Director, Financial Markets Development Department at Government department the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) told the assembled audience of around 180 that “continuous innovation” is required.

Singapore's infrastructure gap expected to be one of the world's smallest by 2040 Singapore Business Review 9th Jul 2019
By then, the country’s infrastructure gap is tipped to hit US$400m compared to the global gap of $19t. Singapore is projected to have one of the smallest infrastructure gaps in the world at US$400m by 2040 following expectations that the government will invest US$87.8b between 2018-2040, according to a report by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

Singapore prepares for rising seas The Straits Times 18th Jul 2019
Singapore is fortifying its defences against climate change, with $400 million being pumped into upgrading and maintaining its drains over the next two years and $10 million more channelled to studying sea level rise. These are just two of a multitude of measures meant to guard against a "perfect storm" of events that could see Singapore engulfed by sea water if not enough is done. But the Government cannot do this alone and everyone has a part to play to prevent "the end of life as usual", Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said yesterday.

Construction work begins for second phase of Tuas port The Straits Times 5th Jul 2019
Construction work on the second phase of the Tuas mega port began yesterday with the installation of the first concrete structure for the wharf. A total of 227 concrete structures or caissons, each weighing 13,000 tonnes, will be installed over the next eight years to construct the wharf, the largest in the mega port. Almost 400ha of land will be reclaimed for the second phase, which will have 21 container berths and be able to handle 21 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of cargo annually.

Thailand

Thailand's Chiang Mai light rail project opens first public hearing Xinhua 31st Jul 2019
The northern Thai city Chiang Mai's light rail transit project on Wednesday opened the first public hearing in Thailand's northern province. Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) Governor Phakhaphong Sirikanthamat chaired the public hearing on Chiang Mai Red Line light rail project, attended by over 250 people, including locals and representatives of educational institutes, public and private sectors. The public hearing considered a feasibility study, design, environmental impact assessment and preparations for bidding documents for the rail project designed to alleviate traffic congestion in downtown Chiang Mai.

Thailand’s Pan-Asia bullet train routes to connect Beijing and Singapore The Independent 9th Jul 2019
Bangkok—Thailand has begun constructing routes for its planned Trans-Asean bullet train line that will connect Beijing, Laos, and Singapore. The proposed modern transport system is part of the government’s plan to make Thailand the logistics centre for ASEAN. The railway project is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative along with Thailand’s Transportation Ministry.

Bids in for SRT's B11.4bn double-track rail project Bangkok Post 24th Jul 2019
Four groups of investors and one company on Tuesday submitted bids to supply train signalling and communications equipment for the first phase of the double-track rail upgrade project, worth 11.4 billion baht, according to the State Railway of Thailand (SRT). The project consists of three separate contracts: the 148-kilometre, 2.7-billion-baht northern route between Lop Buri and Pak Nam Pho in Nakhon Sawan; the 132-km, 2.4-billion-baht northeastern section Map Kabao in Saraburi to Chira Railway Junction in Khon Kaen; and the 169-km, 6.2-billion-baht southern route from Nakhon Pathom to Chumphon. A joint venture between China Railway Signal and Communication (CRSC) and Japan's Hitachi, a joint venture between Italian-Thai Development Plc (ITD) and South Korea's LSIS and German industrial giant Siemens tendered their bids for all three separate contracts.

Transport minister moving ahead with B880bn infrastructure projects Bangkok Post 21st Jul 2019
Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob is moving ahead with the mega-infrastructure investment projects started by the previous government, worth a combined 880 billion baht. The Bhumjaithai Party key figure has outlined urgent investment projects to be implemented, including increasing the capacity at major airports to accommodate growing air travel demands, which would ease overcrowding at airports and welcome more tourists. Arrivals at the country's major airports are predicted to surge to 170 million in total in 2021 and to 170 million in 2024, according to the newly-appointed minister. The capacity expansion will begin with the 42-billion-baht construction of Terminal 2 at the country's gateway Suvarnabhumi airport.

Dual-track upgrade attracts foreign bidders Bangkok Post 17th Jul 2019
Seven companies will be competing to supply signalling and communications equipment for the first phase of the dual-track rail upgrade project, according to State Railway of Thailand deputy governor Sujit Chaosirikul. Five foreign companies, two companies from China and one company each from Japan, Canada, Spain, Germany and South Korea, have purchased the bidding documents. "One of the prospective Chinese bidders is China Railway Signal and Communication (CRSC)," said Mr Sujit. "Along with Hitachi from Japan, Ansaldo from Spain, Siemens from Germany, and LSIS from South Korea."

Thailand seeking endorsement for 5 international airports Bangkok Post 16th Jul 2019
The meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in Phuket next week marks a new phase in aviation development in Thailand, with authorities planning to ask the UN agency to endorse five more international airports. The three-day Third Global Aviation Cooperation Symposium, from July 22-24, is partly a result of the ICAO seeing potential in the Thai aviation industry, according to Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) chief Chula Sukmanop.

Saraburi to Chachoengsao line to open soon Bangkok Post 16th Jul 2019
A new double-track railway connecting Saraburi and Chachoengsao will open this September to bolster transport between the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) and the North and Northeast. "Its construction is now 94% completed," acting State Railway of Thailand (SRT) governor Worawut Mala said yesterday. The 106-kilometre route will facilitate travel between Saraburi's Kaeng Khoi district and Chachengsao, one of three provinces on the eastern coast that form the EEC, the state's much-touted modern industrial hub project covering 30,000 rai of land.

Department of Highways urged to review motorway plan Bangkok Post 15th Jul 2019
About 100 residents who claim plans for a 109-kilometre Nakhon Pathom-Cha-am Motorway project will affect their farms are demanding the Department of Highways (DoH) conduct a new round of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the project. Over the weekend, residents met state representatives including DoH officials, at a seminar titled "The Future of Petchaburi and the Motorway to the South", organised by the Environment Reporters Club and its partners at Phetchaburi Rajabhat University. Sumul Sutaviriyawat, the chairwoman of the Natural Resources and Environment Conservation Club in Phetchaburi, said she was concerned the project will harm the livelihoods of local residents living not only in Phetchaburi, but also Ratchaburi and Samut Songkhram.

BMA hammering out Skytrain deal Bangkok Post 8th Jul 2019
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is negotiating with BTS Group Holdings Plc over the granting proposed 40-year extensions to two concessions on the Green Line Skytrain service, according to a source at the Transport Ministry. One concession -- the Mo Chit-On Nut and the National Stadium-Saphan Taksin sections -- is set to expire in 2029. Meanwhile, the other concession -- on the On Nut-Bearing and Saphan Taksin-Bang Wa sections -- will expire in 2042.

PTT has big ambitions for EECI project Bangkok Post 8th Jul 2019
PTT Plc is set to launch its Eastern Economic Corridor of Innovation (EECI) project in Rayong with the ambitious goal to raise the research and development centre to technology readiness level soon. The SET-listed national oil and gas conglomerate is developing the EECI in Rayong province's Wang Chan Valley. The government plans for the EECI to occupy two sites, the other being in Sri Racha district of Chon Buri.

NESDC mulls Southern Economic Corridor scheme Bangkok Post 5th Jul 2019
The National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) plans to propose developing a Southern Economic Corridor to the new government in a similar fashion to the ongoing Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) scheme. Thosaporn Sirisamphand, secretary-general of the NESDC, said the agency plans to propose concrete development projects for the southern corridor in tandem with the EEC. "Thailand should develop the utmost potential of the country, especially its outstanding geography, which is a strong point of the nation," Mr Thosaporn said.

Cabinet sets second high-speed rail phase rolling Bangkok Post 3rd Jul 2019
The cabinet yesterday approved the first sum of 112 million baht of the 751-million-baht budget required for financing the design of the second phase of the Thai-Chinese high-speed train project in the Northeast. The second phase is a 355-km long section from Nakhon Ratchasima to Nong Khai, which will cost about 200 billion baht. The project's first phase is a 125-billion-baht section stretching 253km from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima.

Vietnam

Vietnam seeks foreign investment in infrastructure projects vietnamplus.vn 26th Jul 2019
Foreign investors are getting access to various master plans and priority infrastructure projects and hearing directly from policymakers and authorities at the Infrastructure Vietnam Summit that opened on July 25 in Ho Chi Minh City. Held for the first time, the two-day event is focused on attracting foreign direct investment in the infrastructure and construction industry.

High speed railway requires careful thought vietnamnews.vn 24th Jul 2019
High speed rail is one of the best modes of transport in a country’s economic development. Rail transportation can carry the most cargo compared with other means. However, the cost of rail infrastructure is always very high, ranging from the funding investment to the management and operation. The plan to construct a high speed trans-Việt Nam rail line is not a simple task, particularly in with the State coffers facing a shortage. This is one of the main reasons why many have come out against the proposal that the Government should spend up to US$58 billion on the project.

Hanoi hopes to strengthen ties with France in infrastructure construction Nhan Dan 16th Jul 2019
Chairman of the People’s Committee of Hanoi Nguyen Duc Chung had a meeting in Hanoi on July 15 with Stephanie Do, a French National Assembly deputy and head of the France - Vietnam Friendship Parliamentarians’ Group. Stephanie Do lauded the development of Hanoi in the recent years, expressing her delight at the cooperation between the city and France in such areas as urban transport, environment and infrastructure. The outcomes of the partnership include many projects now underway such as the urban railway line No. 3 and the international market of agricultural products in Hanoi, she noted.

China seeks to boost trade ties with Vietnam VnExpress International 12th Jul 2019
Li Zhanshu, chairman of the National People's Congress, told Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan in Beijing on Thursday that China wants to cooperate with Vietnam in connecting the railroad line between China and Southeast Asia with Europe, Vietnam News Agency reported. He also proposed that Vietnam should speed up the implementation of a memorandum of understanding for promoting connectivity between the Two Corridors, One Economic Belt initiative and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Authorities seek ways to speed up HCMC-Moc Bai road construction Phnom Penh Post 12th Jul 2019
The authorities of Ho Chi Minh City and Tay Ninh province are building shopping malls and service facilities along the Ho Chi Minh City-Moc Bai Highway to raise revenue for construction of the highway. On Monday, the authorities in both localities agreed to clear land at the intersection of Ring Road No 3 and No 4 to build parking lots, shopping malls and service facilities, according to the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee. Compensation will be paid to affected residents.

Vietnam may spend 26 bln USD building North-South high-speed railway Xinhua 10th Jul 2019
Construction of Vietnam's North-South high-speed railway, which allows passengers to travel between capital Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in about eight hours, will cost about 26 billion U.S. dollars, local media reported on Wednesday.

HCM City eyes public-private partnership to bridge resource gap Vietnam News Agency 23rd Jul 2019
Public–private partnership (PPP) is the best mode of investment for HCM City’s socio-economic development, city authorities have said. According to the Department of Planning and Investment, the city requires VNĐ326 trillion (US$14 billion) for the five years from 2016 to 2020, but the city coffers can only provide 50 per cent of that amount, and therefore authorities need to seek non-State sources. Since 2000, city agencies have signed contracts for 22 PPP projects worth nearly VNĐ70 trillion ($3 billion), including 16 in the transport sector and three for infrastructure development. The city has plans for another 130 worth nearly VNĐ381 trillion. Experts said despite great efforts to attract PPP investment the actual mobilisation remains very low compared to the requirement. Investment in PPP mode requires competitiveness and transparency, and the projects must ensure benefit to both the city and the private investors, they said.

HCM City's overhead electrical cables to be buried underground by 2025 Vietnam News Agency 22nd Jul 2019
Thousands of kilometers of electrical and telecommunications cables have been buried underground in HCM City as part of a project that began nearly 10 years ago. Between 2011 and 2015, as many as 358km of medium-voltage and 620km of low-voltage cables were buried underground on 62 streets. By 2020, about 650km of medium-voltage and 1,150km of low-voltage power lines are expected to be buried, according to the HCM City Power Corporation under Electricity of Việt Nam (EVN HCM City). In suburban areas, the work will be carried out first in crowded areas near administrative centres and shopping malls. By 2025, electrical cables will no longer be above ground in central districts, administrative centres in suburban districts, new urban zones, and industrial zones.

Central Vietnam greets influx of infrastructure VietNamNet 9th Jul 2019
The abundant potential for tourism and renewable energy development has turned Vietnam’s central region into an investment hotbed. One of the most notable projects is the Hoa Phat Dung Quat general container port, to be developed by Hoa Phat Dung Quat Port JSC. The project is valued at VND3.77 trillion ($164 million) in investment capital. Two more initiatives – the Van Tuong 10 Eco-Resort and the Van Tuong 11 Eco-Resort – will be developed by Dai Phat International Investment and Development JSC and Van Tuong Investment and Development JSC, among others

Nearly $2 billion to be invested in Hà Nội’s third metro line Vietnam News Agency 6th Jul 2019
Hà Nội is set to invest more than VNĐ40 trillion (US$1.72 billion) in a third metro line connecting Hà Nội Railway Station with the outlying district of Hoàng Mai from 2021 to 2025. Nearly VNĐ34.3 trillion ($1.47 billion) will be allocated from official development assistance (ODA) and the remaining VNĐ6.2 trillion ($266.6 million) will be from the city’s budget. The line will link May 1 Square on Trần Hưng Đạo Street with Pháp Vân Viaduct on the Belt Ring Road No.3, running through the streets of Trần Hưng Đạo, Trần Thánh Tông, Kim Ngưu and Nguyễn Tam Trinh.