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Infrastructure Update: 14 Countries of Asia Sign Agreement to Promote Dry Port Investments

Infrastructure Update: 14 Countries of Asia Sign Agreement to Promote Dry Port Investments

Top Story of the Week: 14 Countries Sign Dry Ports Agreement


  • Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and eight other countries of Asia signed the Inter-government Agreement on Dry Ports last week to underscore their pledge toward achieving the shared vision of an integrated and sustainable inter-modal transport and logistics system. The agreement, signed on the sideline of the Forum of Asian Ministers of Transport, builds on the intergovernmental agreements of the Asian Highway and Trans-Asian Railway networks, built through the ESCAP platform. The agreement aims to promote international recognition of dry ports, facilitating investment in dry port infrastructure, improving operational efficiency and enhancing the environmental sustainability of transport. "The benefits of economic growth have, for too long, been concentrated mainly in our prosperous coastal communities - with landlocked countries and areas facing challenges of prohibitive costs and complex logistics to get their goods and services to market, and to access regional and global production and supply chains," said Dr. Noeleen Heyzer, UNUnder-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP at the signing ceremony.
  • Indonesia said it will allow foreign investment in airports and ports as the government seeks to revitalize an economy growing at the weakest pace since the global recession. The country may also ease limits on overseas holdings in its telecommunications and pharmaceutical industries, the Investment Coordinating Board said today, hours after a report showed economic expansion slowed for a fifth quarter. Gross domestic product increased 5.62 percent in the three months ended Sept. 30 from a year earlier, as a declining rupiah restrained investment in Southeast Asia’s largest economy. Indonesian policy makers are grappling with a depreciated exchange rate, elevated inflation and diminished foreign capital inflows undermining President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s legacy of economic stability before he steps down next year. His failure to address infrastructure gaps in his two terms has added to price pressures, threatening his party’s chances at elections in 2014.
  • The Thai government hopes to immediately start its infrastructure investment spree in dual-track rail lines, four-lane roads and customs checkpoints after the 2-trillion-baht borrowing bill is passed into law. Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong said under the plan, the government would spend 186 billion baht on four-lane roads. Building new four-lane roads and widening existing two-lane roads to four lanes can start right away, as these do not require environmental impact assessment reports, he said. The government believes the seven-year investment will jolt the country's lackluster economy into life as domestic consumption and private investment seem to be running out of steam. The construction industry could benefit as much 12 percent growth annually over the next seven to eight years as a result of this transportation bill. The massive investment is expected to help reduce logistics costs and turn Thailand into an ASEAN transport hub. The borrowing bill is pending Senate deliberation.

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