The 36th ASEAN Railway CEOs’ Conference kicked off in Hanoi on November 18.

As many as 206 delegates and observers from the railway industry in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as representatives from the International Union of Railways and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific are participating in the three-day event.

Addressing the conference, Vietnamese Deputy Transport Minister Nguyen Ngoc Dong stressed the important role of railways in transport and logistics, which he said foster economic growth in the region, especially once the ASEAN Economic Community is formed in 2015.

The conference provides an opportunity for leaders of the region’s railway sector to devise joint development plans in order to consolidate their cooperation for a united and prosperous ASEAN Community, Dong said.

Chairman of the Vietnam Railways Corporation (VRC) Tran Ngoc Thanh affirmed the VRC’s willingness to learn from the experience of other railway systems in the region and the world so as to effectively implement restructuring measures.

Representatives from Malaysia and Cambodia suggested the railway system be run by the private sector, while the State should be responsible for investments in infrastructure development and maintenance.-VNA