The public in Singapore and Malaysia have expressed concerns over the economic viability of the high-speed rail (HSR) plan.
As the investment is substantial, the planners should think of how to maximise the use of the HSR.
One area to explore is the transport of goods - vegetables, fruits, flowers, processed food and urgent mail or courier items, where speed is of the essence.
With good planning, specially designed cargo carriages could run in between the passenger train schedule, or during the off-hours of the passenger train service.
The speed cargo service between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore would beat air transport by a few hours, thereby saving time.
It would also provide the flexibility of loading and unloading at any station along the rail.
Towns like Muar and Batu Pahat, which produce plenty of vegetables and fruits for the Singapore market, would benefit a great deal.
The speed cargo service would lead to the creation of more businesses in areas such as organic farming, food processing, cyber marketing and so on, not just along the 350km railway, but also beyond it.
Albert Ng Ya Ken