Thursday, January 9, 2020

Hundreds of workers to undergo training for railway operation

By:  Vientiane Times, January 9, 2020

As many as 600 people will be selected to undergo training in China in preparation for operation of the Laos-China railway, which is scheduled to commence service in December 2021, the rail operator has announced.


Personnel selection and training will be carried out in three sessions, with the first job vacancies expected to be announced this month, said a senior official with the Laos-China Railway Company (LCRC), which was established by the Lao and Chinese governments to operate the railway.

Selection will include an examination and assessment of the applicants’ backgrounds, LCRC General Manager Li Bing Xuang said when speaking at the company’s annual meeting this week.

The job vacancies will be announced through various channels including media outlets.

The first group of trainees is expected to go to Kunming in Yunnan province in March or April, where they will attend courses for about 15 to 18 months.

They will train as mechanics, train drivers and related occupations as well as learn to supervise rail system maintenance, according to a Lao official with the company.

The training aims to “prepare for the railway operation in December 2021”, Mr Li told the meeting.

The Lao and Chinese governments have agreed to strive to complete the 414.332-km railway, which is now 83 percent complete, in time to mark the 46th anniversary of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic on December 2, 2021.

The personnel training is one of the core activities of the 2020 work plan of the US$5.8 billion rail project, which connects the Chinese border to Vientiane.

The construction of rail infrastructure is set to be largely finished this year. The contractors plan to complete the remaining tunnels and bridges and rail track base by the end of the year.

So far, over 170 km of the total 198 km of tunnels have been fully holed. Over 36 km of bridges accounting for 59.3 percent of the total have been constructed.

The laying of rail track will begin this year with the developer expecting to complete laying track from the Chinese border to Luang Prabang by the end of the year, according to Mr Li.

Authorities in charge are seeking contractors for the construction of railway stations and plan to finish the bidding process by March.

Mr Li said preparations for the operation of the railway include management, setting of service charges for passenger and cargo transport, and the training of personnel.

The Lao and Chinese governments attach great importance to the railway, which is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative to build global infrastructure.

The Lao government hopes the railway will help to transform Laos from being landlocked to a land link within the region.

Businesses expect that the railway will help to significantly lower transport costs and enable them to become more competitive, as their growth has been hindered by high transport costs in the past.

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