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M’sian group mulls cross-border railway, seaport in Quang Tri   2009-02-18 - VietNamNet/SGT

Malaysia-based Giant Group Ltd. has shown keen interest in developing huge infrastructure projects in the central province of Quang Tri, including a cross-border railway and a seaport, said a source from the transport ministry.

The official, who asked not to be named, said the investor signed a memorandum with the provincial government on Friday to develop a railway section linking Dong Ha City to Lao Bao border gate with Laos, the My Thuy deep-water seaport, and the small-scale Quang Tri airport.

Under the memorandum of understanding, Giant Group will spend 15 months preparing feasibility studies for the three infrastructure projects, and then submit them to the provincial authorities no later than 18 months’ time from now. Giant Group wants to develop the projects under the Build-Operate-Transfer form, said the source.

After the investor completes the studies and proves its financial capacity, Quang Tri authorities will submit the plans to the central Government asking for permission to carry out the three projects.

The information on the Malaysian investor’s investment plans is confirmed on the provincial government’s website.

At the signing ceremony, provincial chairman Le Huu Phuc pledged to create favorable conditions for the group’s investment projects in the central province, according to the website.

Meanwhile, Mohammad Fadzwi Bin Hamidun, chairman of the group, said Giant Group would prepare actively for the implementation of the projects once they are approved by the Vietnamese Government.

According to a master plan prepared by the transport ministry, the 95-km railway section that links Dong Ha City with Lao Bao on the Vietnam-Laos borderline is part of the East-West Economic Corridor that is designed to promote cooperation among the four regional countries, namely Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

Meanwhile, the My Thuy deep-water seaport is estimated to cost some US$1.8 billion and the Quang Tri Airport requires an investment of VND375 billion, or US$23 million.

Also on Friday, the provincial chairman approved a zoning master plan for Quang Tri Airport, which will be located at Gio Quang Township, 7km north of Dong Ha City.

Last November, Giant Group also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Lao Government to build a US$3 billion railway running from Savannakhet Province to Lao Bao border gate, with total length of 220km.

Under the terms of the deal, the group will conduct surveys prior to carrying out a feasibility study for submission to the Lao government within two years.

* In related news, Vietnamese deputy transport minister Le Manh Hung signed five MOUs with Laos transport minister Sithong Thongkeo last week in strengthening cooperation between the two countries in the transport sector.

Under the MOUs signed in Vientiane, the two countries will start upgrading the 2E Highway in Laos in March, and conduct surveys on building a railway section linking Thakhet to Mouda in the border area with Vietnam. Besides, the two ministries will implement a government-to-government decision allowing Laos transportation companies to use Vung Ang Port in Ha Tinh Province as a transit point.

The two ministries also agreed to quicken preparations for signing the Vietnam-Laos transportation agreement, which is scheduled for August.

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