Boosting ASEAN transport connectivity

11:31 | 21/01/2016 Cooperation

(VEN) - ASEAN leaders have signed a declaration on the establishment of the ASEAN Community. Before that, at the 21st ASEAN Transport Ministers Meeting in early November, ASEAN member countries reached a consensus on an open sky policy and pledged to build a single aviation market, an ASEAN highway network and the Singapore-Kunming Rail Link, in order to increase regional trade and tourism.

Boosting ASEAN transport connectivity

ASEAN member countries are pursuing the open sky policy to create a single aviation market

Vietnam’s efforts

In the recent period Vietnam has taken the initiative in implementing commitments on transport connectivity in ASEAN and achieved positive results. So far, Vietnam has basically fulfilled commitments on the development of the ASEAN road network. Eighteen national highways have been connected to eight ASEAN highways that run through Vietnam. Since 2004, Vietnam has upgraded 1,317km of roads according to ASEAN’s standards. The North-South rail route has been upgraded as part of the Singapore-Kunming Rail Link project. Vietnam has connected its inland waterway transport system with that of ASEAN via Cambodia, and improved the capacity of Vietnamese seaports in the ASEAN seaport network.

In terms of institutional connectivity, Vietnam was one of the first countries to sign and ratify framework agreements and implementation protocols on transport facilitation in ASEAN as well as agreements to promote air transport cooperation in accordance with the Roadmap for Integration of the Air Travel Sector (RIATS) towards a single aviation market in ASEAN.

However, ASEAN member countries and Vietnam in particular need to fulfill further tasks to achieve ASEAN’s integration goals. According to the Ministry of Transport, apart from internal problems related to the resources for logistics development, ASEAN countries also have to cope with regional challenges, including the development gap and differences in the transportation and logistics service regulations between member countries.

Looking towards new goals

From a business viewpoint, DHL Global Forwarding for Asia Pacific Chief Executive Officer Kelvin Leung said that over the last many years, Vietnam has paid great attention to upgrading its transport system to promote its connectivity with Europe and Asia in terms of air, sea, and land transport. However, in his opinion, Vietnam still lacks resources for transport infrastructure development, and its transport policies remain incompatible with regional and international laws in this field. Moreover, domestic transport businesses are still weak in terms of financial capacity and competitiveness, so their participation in international and trans-national transportation activities remains limited.

To surmount these limitations, in May 2015 Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung approved a scheme for enhancing transportation connectivity in ASEAN to 2020 with an orientation towards 2030. Under the scheme, Vietnam will upgrade its roads in accordance with ASEAN standards, improve the competitiveness of the national fleet, gradually develop cruise ships to link Vietnam with important tourist sites in the world, enhance the capability of domestic airline firms so that they can join ASEAN’s single aviation market and larger inter-regional aviation markets with China, the EU, India, and the Republic of Korea, and continue to promote the participation of private and low-cost airlines.


Thanh Thanh