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New rail link with Vietnam on the cards

Chea Vannak / Khmer Times Share:
A train travelling to Kampot from Phnom Penh. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Plans for a railway line connecting Bavet city in Svay Rieng province to Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh city were revealed this week by the Minister of Transport.

During a meeting with Nguyen Nhat, Vietnam’s Deputy Minister of Transport, Cambodian Transport Minister Sun Chanthol said both governments are considering the creation of a rail link between both nations, and said they are cooperating to attract private sector investment into the project.

The Bavet-Ho Chi Minh city project replaces a previous railway project that was to connect Kampong Speu’s Bat Deng commune with Luc Ning in Vietnam, according to Ly Borin, under-secretary of state at the Ministry of Transport.

The Bat Deng-Luc Ning railway project was part of a region-wide railway plan to connect Singapore to China’s Yunnan province via Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

“The Bat Deng-Luc Ning railway was given careful consideration, but we arrived to the conclusion that it was too expensive.

“As such, we settled on a new line which is shorter than the previous planned railway,” Mr Borin said, adding that the Bavet-Ho Chi Minh city railway will be around 250 kilometres long, while the discarded project was planned to cover 300 kilometres.

The project is in the early stages of conceptualization, with the governments now working on a feasibility study.

“We can’t give you anymore information because we are at the very beginning stages,” he said.

Cambodia and Vietnam are also studying the construction of an expressway linking Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh city.

The western railway line, linking Phnom Penh to Poipet on the Thai border, will be finished before the end of 2018, according to recent government announcements.

Sun Chanthol have said the railway will play an important role in boosting trade and the movement of people between Cambodia and Thailand.

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