Infrastructure Development

An efficient, secure and integrated transport network in ASEAN is vital for realising the full potential of the AFTA, as well as for enhancing the attractiveness of the region as a single production, tourism and investment destination and narrowing development gaps. 

An integrated ASEAN transport network is also critical in linking the bloc with neighbouring Northeast and South Asian countries. Regional efforts have been made to enhance transport and logistics services, promote multimodal transport infrastructure linkages and connectivity, facilitate transport and tourism integration and further liberalise the air and maritime transport sectors. The enabling framework for the full liberalisation of air services in ASEAN shall be expeditiously implemented.

The ASEAN Transport Action Plan (ATAP) 2005-2010 covers maritime, land and air transport, and transport facilitation. The plan outlines 48 action measures. Priority is given to completion of the Singapore-Kunming Rail Link (SKRL) and the ASEAN Highway Network (AHN) projects. The general principles and framework for an ASEAN Single Shipping Market (ASSM) have been adopted and will be used to develop and implement the ASEAN Single Aviation Market.

A secure and connected information infrastructure is important for sustaining the region’s economic growth and competitiveness. Efforts have been made to facilitate interconnectivity and technical interoperability among information and communications technology (ICT) systems. These include leveraging on existing national networks and evolving these into a regional information infrastructure. 

Equal emphasis has also been placed on improving confidence in the use of the internet and in security of electronic transactions, payments and settlements.

Secure and reliable supplies of energy are crucial to supporting and sustaining economic and industrial activities. Regional collaboration in the Trans-ASEAN Gas Pipeline (TAGP) and the ASEAN Power Grid (APG) projects allow optimisation of the region’s resources for greater energy security. These projects also provide opportunities for private-sector involvement in terms of investment, including financing and technology transfer. Interconnected networks of electricity grids and gas pipelines offer significant benefits in terms of security, flexibility and quality of energy supplies.

While ASEAN strives towards accelerating the establishment of an ASEAN Community by 2015, it is important to ensure that such development is sustainable through efforts such as the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions by means of effective policies and measures.

In light of the limited global reserves of fossil energy and unstable world fuel oil prices, it is essential for ASEAN to focus on strengthening renewable energy development, such as that of biofuels. Member states should also promote open trade, facilitation and cooperation in the renewable energy sector and related industries, as well as investments in the requisite infrastructures for renewable energy development.

Last but not least, financing is always an important contributor to economic growth. As ASEAN accelerates its efforts towards economic integration, more investments will be needed particularly in the development of regional infrastructures. Putting in place innovative financing schemes to attract greater private-sector involvement will therefore be important.