Transport

Developing transport infrastructure in tandem with policies and procedures for crossing borders and promoting trade has been central to efforts to interconnect the Greater Mekong Subregion countries.

The Subregional Transport Forum reviews, coordinates and monitors regional transport plans and projects of GMS member countries.


Transport lies at the heart of Greater Mekong Subregion cooperation. The development of physical infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, in tandem with policies and procedures for crossing borders and developing trade along key routes, has been central to efforts to forge a truly interconnected subregion.

Physically connecting the countries of the subregion was one of the first initiatives of the GMS program when it was founded in 1992. The countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion have acknowledged that in order to cooperate in trade, tourism, and investment, and to realize the other benefits of the region, they must expand the road links and border crossings that connect them.

This is being done through the development of “economic corridors,” which are geographic areas, often along major highways, where a variety of development projects are undertaken to maximize their development benefits. This might include projects involving infrastructure, laws and regulations, market development, and the improvement of urban centers. Economic corridors bring a wide range of benefits, far beyond what single projects deliver in terms of development impact.

The three main GMS corridors—the East–West, North–South and Southern economic corridors—have improved the lives of millions of people in the Greater Mekong Subregion. These corridors are being enhanced with secondary roads that extend their benefits to nearby communities most in need, and other roads that link to strategic seaports in the subregion. The regulatory details of how people and goods can best move along these corridors are also currently being worked out.

The GMS Economic Cooperation Program Strategic Framework 2030 (GMS-2030) will prioritize intermodal approaches, facilitate cross-border transport, and seek improvement in logistics, asset management, and road safety. Given the rise in GMS economic density, and with respect to its environmental considerations, GMS-2030 aims to ensure the development of railway networks; sea, river, and dry ports; and inland waterways. Investments in airports to improve connections with the rest of Asia and the world will be essential, as will the development of secondary roads that will link to main corridors to expand the benefits to poorer communities. An effort will be made to integrate urban transport with the GMS transport network. GMS-2030 was endorsed and adopted at the 7th GMS Summit of Leaders in September 2021. It aims to provide a new setting for the development of this subregion for the next decade.

Related

GMS Transport Sector Strategy 2030

GMS Transport Strategy 2006–2015

Subregional Transport Forum

Focal Persons at the Asian Development Bank

  • Shihiru Date
    Transport and Communication Division,
    Southeast Asia Department
  • Nicolas E. Dei Castelli
    Sustainable Infrastructure Division,
    East Asia Department

Other Concerned Staff & Consultants

  • Antonio Ressano
    Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Division,
    Southeast Asia Department
  • Alma Canarejo
    Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Division,
    Southeast Asia Department/GMS Secretariat

Send inquiries to GMS Secretariat.

The Bago-Kyaikto expressway will link to the Yangon-Mandalay highway (in picture). Photo by ALwinDigital (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Myanmar Approves Proposed ADB Loan for the Bago–Kyaikto Highway along GMS’ EWEC

Myanmar’s Union Parliament approved a proposed loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) worth around $483.8 million to finance construction of the Bago–Kyaikto highway. The Bago–Kyaikto highway lies along the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) East–West Economic Corridor (EWEC), which links Myanmar to Thailand, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, and Viet Nam, and Myanmar’s Thilawa Port in Yangon to Viet Nam’s Danang Port.

GMS in the News

Aerial view of trucks and other vehicles crossing the border check point on the Lao side of the Mekong River through the Second Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge which connects Mukdahan Province in Thailand with Savannakhet in Lao PDR. Photo by ADB.

ADB Highlights Support for GMS Transport and Economic Corridors in ASEAN Forum

The ASEAN Forum on Subregional Development discussed measures to link Mekong subregional cooperation programs with the ASEAN and other subregional groupings to achieve the common goal of narrowing development gaps and to build a stronger ASEAN community. The forum tackled solutions to promote coordination and connectivity among economic corridors in the region. Countries and involved parties were enjoined to work together on policies and mechanisms to address border gate issues.  

GMS in the News

ASEAN headquarter in Indonesia. Photo: Gunawan Kartapranata

ASEAN Economic Ministers Pledge to Boost Supply Chain Connectivity

The ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting on 4 June adopted the Hanoi Plan of Action on Strengthening ASEAN Economic Cooperation and Supply Chain Connectivity in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Through the action plan, economic ministers hope to counter the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak by promoting ASEAN markets for essential goods and strengthening economic cooperation among ASEAN countries.  

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Expressway to Link Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville

 

A 190 kilometer expressway project is set to link Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville. Cambodia’s Ministry of Public Works and Transportation reports that the project has reached 20% completion since construction began in March 2019.

Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen underscored that construction of the expressway is in line with regional integration in both the ASEAN and the Greater Mekong Subregion, linking regional transport networks from one country to another.

News

Car usage is on the rise in Yangon causing much traffic congestion in the city. Photo: ADB

Improving Connectivity of Myanmar’s Yangon Region along the East-West Economic Corridor

Plans are underway to connect Yangon in Myanmar with the Bago Region and Mon State through new expressways along the Greater Mekong Subregion’s (GMS) East-West Economic Corridor. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will provide financing assistance to build more efficient highways that will promote safer movement of goods and people. 

GMS in the News

Border gate between Lao PDR and Viet Nam in Lao Bao (ADB Photo)

Lao PDR, Viet Nam Plan to Open New International Borders

Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) and Viet Nam plan to upgrade two local border crossing points to international border crossings this year. The plan was announced during the 29th annual border meeting of the two neighboring countries on 26 December 2019 in Ha Noi, Viet Nam. 

The Dak Ta-Ok (Lao PDR)–Nam Giang (Viet Nam) between Xekong (Lao PDR) and Quang Nam (Viet Nam) provinces will be the first international crossing point in Xekong. The neighboring countries plan to open this upgraded international border crossing in the first quarter of 2020.

GMS in the News