The Chinese government will invest more than 42 million yuan (US$5.06 million) to help Myanmar and Laos dredge a navigation section on the Mekong River, sources with the Yunnan Provincial Navigation Administration said.
The 331-kilometer-long section to be dredged runs from the No. 243 demarcation stone between China and Myanmar to Houayxay in Laos. The project is expected to start in December this year after approval by the governments of China, Myanmar, Laos and Thailand, according to sources.
The section to be dredged, a border river between Myanmar and Laos, is part of the Lancang-Mekong River course which opened to commercial navigation in China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand Tuesday. Shipping vehicles now can navigate unrestricted on the waterway from Simao Port in Yunnan Province, southwest China, to Louang Prabang Port in Laos with a total length of 886 kilometers.
Experts from the four countries have carried out a series of on- the-spot investigations at the Myanmar-Laos border river and the river course is expected to allow passage of 100-ton ships all the year round upon completion of the dredging project, said Liu Daqing, a leading technician in charge of the project.
By 2007, 300-ton ships are expected to pass through the section even in dry seasons with further improvement to the course of the river in the coming years.
Currently, the annual navigation capacity of the Lancang-Mekong River is 4 million tons and it is expected to reach 10 million tons by 2007.
(Xinhua News Agency 06/29/2001)