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Inland waterways, including the Mekong River,
second most important transport network in the country.
about 4,600 kilometers of navigable waterways, including
of the Mekong, the Ou, and nine other rivers. The Mekong
for about 1,330 kilometers of the total navigable length.
the Mekong flows through Laos for approximately 2,030
it is only navigable for about 70 percent of this length,
because of rapids and low water levels in the dry season.
Vientiane and Savannakhét, the river can accommodate boats
between seventy and 140 deadweight tons; otherwise it can
between fifteen and fifty deadweight tons, depending on
Residents of lowland villages located on the banks of
rivers have traditionally traveled in pirogues for
trading, or visiting up and down the river for limited
Both public and private trade associations handle river
traffic, including the State River Transport Company,
Vientiane. In mid-1987 the State Water Transport Company
thirty-seven boats, most built with help from Vietnam.
state warehouses at Savannakhét, Xénô, and Vientiane, in
to a number of ports. River transportation has improved as
government policy has emphasized expanded trade with
with rural regions.
Data as of July 1994