The report is based on a ground survey along the Muse - Mandalay highway and includes results from a soil analysis test as well as suggested routes.

The feasibility study into the line is being carried out following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group and Myanmar Railways in October 2018.

The environmental impact assessment, social impact assessment and the project’s commercial and financial viability aspects of the feasibility study are yet to be completed, The Myanmar Times reported, while the project’s impact on road and freight traffic and the total financial costs involved are also being considered.

“We don’t know whether the project will be implemented via a government-to-government loan, public-private partnership, or joint venture yet,” says general manager of administration and planning for Myanmar Railways, Mr U Htaung Shan Khan. “We still have a lot to negotiate based on the best interests of our country.”

The 430km line, which will form a section of the Kunming - Muse - Mandalay - Kyaukphyu line, will be electrified and designed for 160km/h operation. The line will intersect the country from the Chinese border in the northeast to the port at Kyaukphyu in the southwest. The Kunming - Shweli section in China is currently under construction and is due to open in 2021.