Enhancing Cross-Border Infrastructure: Insights into Upgrades at Laos’ Border Crossings with Thailand and Vietnam

PCG meeting
Sharing designs for the LACP Cross Border Facility upgrade: Ms. Vanh Dilaphanh, Director General of the Department of Planning and Finance, Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MPWT), H.E. Litta Khattiya, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MPWT), Dan Heldon, Deputy Head of Mission, Australian Embassy in Laos, and Elena Rose, Executive Director, P4I.

Partnerships for Infrastructure (P4I) recently shared designs for the upgrade of two vital cross-border facilities situated at Laos’ border with Thailand at Nam Nguen and Vietnam at Panghok. This handover of designs at the Laos Australia Connectivity Partnership (LACP) Program Coordination Group (PCG) meeting, shared with H.E. Litta Khattiya, Vice Minister for Laos’ Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MPWT), represents a pivotal milestone in the planned upgrades aimed at streamlining the processing of increasing trade flows and tourist traffic at these important border crossings.

The designs prioritise inclusive and accessible infrastructure that is also resilient to climate challenges. For example, in addition to traditional measures like slope protection systems and seismic fortifications, the designs incorporate innovative environmental features such as solar panels and Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations, demonstrating a commitment to reducing carbon emissions. Special attention has been given to ensuring universal accessibility and inclusivity, with the aim of creating more job opportunities for women and people with disabilities.

These upgrades play a crucial role in facilitating Laos' integration into broader regional logistics networks, particularly in sectors like agriculture. The facilities are located along National Road No. 2, which forms part of Asian Highway No. 13 – a prioritised pipeline project in support of ASEAN’s connectivity agenda. under the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 (MPAC 2025). Through the establishment of climate-resilient, accessible, and efficient border crossings, the collective aim is to empower local communities and businesses, integrating them into ASEAN’s evolving supply chains and economic growth prospects.

The Laos-Australia Connectivity Partnership (LACP), implemented by Australia's P4I initiative, is fostering increased trade, employment, and inclusive economic growth through high quality sustainable infrastructure. Australia stands alongside Lao PDR and the World Bank in championing connectivity to achieve these goals.

The designs were presented at the LACP PCG meeting, co-chaired by H.E. Litta Khattiya, in Vientiane, Laos on 16 May, bringing together key partners including the Australian Embassy, the Program Management Unit (PMU) in the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MPWT), and P4I. The PCG was an opportunity to discuss progress under LACP and hear from MPWT on its future priorities to drive transport connectivity.

PCG Laos
On 16 May 2024, the Laos Australia Connectivity Partnership (LACP) Program Coordination Group (PCG) met to review progress toward improved domestic and regional transport connectivity in Laos.

In addition to the cross-border facilities feasibility study and design, LACP has also delivered:

  • Feasibility analysis and design for potential dry ports to improve trade and connectivity in the region.
  • Working with MPWT to support development of a multi-modal transport strategy to enhance institutional capacity and improve domestic and regional transport connectivity
  • Supported MPWT consultations with Thailand and Vietnam to help understand how to make crossing borders smoother for goods, passengers and tourists.
  • Support to MPWT and other ministries to strengthen environmental safeguard requirements for transport infrastructure and related facilities, building capacity and systems.
  • Building the capacity and systems of the Government of Laos PDR to integrate disaster risk reduction and climate change considerations into the design, lifting the standards for infrastructure policy, planning, development, and management beyond the project.
  • Identified gaps in provision of inclusive, accessible and affordable transport services, P4I has worked with MPWT to address these issues through design and advice across the program.

The Australian Embassy and P4I also organised a delegation of national and provincial Lao officials to visit Australia, including Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, for knowledge sharing with Australian government and industry stakeholders. The visit focused on meetings and site visits on policy priorities such as multimodal logistics; transport strategy, planning and implementation; transport safety; transport infrastructure financing as well as cross-cutting themes such as transport decarbonisation, sustainability, resilience, inclusiveness and accessibility.

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