MANILA, PHILIPPINES - ADB will help prepare a project that will complete the Southern Coastal Corridor linking Thailand, Cambodia, and Viet Nam through a technical assistance (TA) grant approved for US$1million.
The TA, from the Japan Special Fund, financed by the Government of Japan, will design a project to rehabilitate and upgrade transport links and facilities along the corridor, which is an important part of the Southern Economic Corridor flagship program of the 10-year Greater Mekong subregion (GMS) Strategic Framework.
The Southern Coastal Corridor links Thailand, Cambodia and Viet Nam along the southern coast of these three countries. An ADB-financed TA in 2003 confirmed that a 17-kilometer section of road on the Cambodian section of the corridor required improvement to complete connection to the Cambodia-Viet Nam border and that the border crossing needed to be upgraded to an international crossing. The 2003 TA also confirmed that there was a need to improve the transport infrastructure along the Vietnamese portion of the corridor.
"The planned project will enhance connectivity and promote cross-border transport among Thailand, Cambodia, and Viet Nam," says Paul J. Vallely, Sr. Transport Specialist of ADB's Mekong Department.
"This will foster economic and social integration, and support increased trade and investment in the Southern Economic Corridor."
While Cambodia and Viet Nam have not traded much along the corridor, observations of activities at the border show that future trade has considerable potential.
The southern coastal region of Cambodia is an emerging industrial zone centered on the international seaport in Sihanoukville. Developments in this zone will take advantage of planned exploitation of natural gas resources in the Gulf of Siam, subregional transport links being constructed to the established industrial zones in the Eastern Seaboard in Thailand, and the rapidly developing agro- and aqua-based industries in southern Viet Nam.
In Viet Nam, these industries are rapidly being promoted to export processed food products as significant foreign exchange earners. Inland transport of such products, which must be processed quickly and frozen, is almost always by truck with refrigerated units. Other items coming from Viet Nam that could use the corridor include fertilizers, processed foods, and other consumer goods.
The TA will also conduct a multi-modal study on the movement of goods and people within the project-influenced area and prepare full resettlement plans. It will develop awareness campaigns to reduce the risk of the spread of HIV/AIDS and human trafficking associated with a regional transport corridor.
The Governments of Cambodia and Viet Nam will contribute $220,000 equivalent toward the TA's total cost of $1.22 million. In Cambodia, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport will serve as the executing agency, and in Viet Nam, the Ministry of Transport.
The TA will be carried out over 10 months beginning September 2005.