The dry port and logistics park is one of four mega projects under the Lao Logistics Link (LLL) project, which PTLH has been granted a concession to develop. The other three projects are the Vung Ang seaport in Vietnam’s central Ha Tinh province, which the Lao developer and its Vietnamese partner will jointly develop and operate; a planned railway connecting Vientiane with the seaport; and a planned 2,000MW coal-fired power plant in central Khammuan province.
Of the 53 countries that have invested in Laos, China has the largest number of investments, undertaking a total of 813 projects worth US$ 16 billion.
“It is an environmental tragedy of the highest order that key rivers in Laos, such as the majestic Nam Ou, have been sacrificed to build these dams for an outcome that has seen not state revenues and sustainable development for the people of Laos, but elevated debt burdens and financial stress.”
Authorities are now resolving a number of final issues, including compensating individuals who have been affected by the Laos-China railway project and dealing with areas where the railway crosses highways.
The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre logged 679 charges of human rights abuse against Chinese companies operating abroad between 2013 and 2020. Among the key findeings were problems associated with lost livelihoods linked to a rail project in Laos were noted, the vast majority of the renewable energy complaints were related to hydropower projects, and Myanmar saw the most allegations of any country with 97.
These include a Memorandum of Understanding on hydropower development on the Ma River in Huaphan province, agreement to buy electricity from the Nam Ou and Nam Ngum 4 dams, and other electricity purchasing and mining agreements.
Laos could struggle to repay Chinese debt; that only a fraction of the population will benefit; and that overtourism could threaten Luang Prabang’s world heritage status