04 Feb 2022
The Lao Government has agreed in principle to a proposed increase in freight transport on the Laos-Thailand railway with a view to moving more containers, the developer of the Thanaleng Dry Port (TDP) and Vientiane Logistics Park (VLP) has told Thai authorities. The Governor of Thailand’s neighbouring Nong Khai province, Monsit Paisarntanawat, and his delegation visited the logistics park and dry port in Vientiane on Friday to discuss the matter.
The two parties considered the issues involved in shipping more containers by rail, especially those sent by Thailand to China through Laos using the Laos-China railway.
Chairman of Vientiane Logistics Park Co., Ltd. Mr Chanthone Sitthixay, told Thai authorities he had talked to the Prime Minister’s Office, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Finance about the possibility of moving containers from Thailand to Laos during the night or even around the clock.
“The Lao government has agreed,” he told the guests and suggested that the Thai side also do their part to move things forward in order to increase the volume of freight transport.
Mr Monsit said Nong Khai province would be happy to remove any barrier under the province’s responsibility so that more containers could be shipped.
He added that Thailand’s deputy prime minster who oversees the matter had expressed support for addressing any barriers under the responsibility of central authorities, including amending legislation or policy if necessary.
Mr Chanthone told the guests his company had done its best to provide services and quickly ship Thai containers to China and Chinese containers to Thailand.
He informed the guests that a shipment of Thai rice, which had been stranded in Laos earlier because of an inaccurate declaration of the category of the rice, had been successfully transported to China after his company resolved the issue with Lao authorities.
Officially opening for service in December, the dry port and logistics park are located next to the Laos-Thailand railway station and the Laos-Thailand Mekong Friendship Bridge 1, connecting Vientiane and Nong Khai province.
The dry port acts as an international border checkpoint for freight, similar to a seaport-based or airport-based transit area or international arrival zone, where procedures are streamlined to enable the smooth flow of trucks and freight.
Since it opened for service, thousands of containers from China have been shipped to Thailand and numerous containers of Thai agricultural produce have been transported to China through the dry port.
Mr Chanthone told Thai authorities that a metre-gauge track (the same size as the Laos-Thailand railway) and a standard 1.435 metre-gauge track (the size of the Laos-China railway) are being installed inside the dry port to link the two railways.
Installation of the two tracks is expected to be completed by March, which will enable much easier movement of containers.
As the two railways have not yet been connected, the Vientiane Logistics Park Co., Ltd. has readied 40-50 trucks to transport containers between the dry port and the Vientiane Station on the Laos-China railway free of charge.
TDP Managing Director Sakhone Philangam told Thai authorities that the dry port and logistics park would significantly reduce cross-border transport procedures.
It is also expected that transport costs will be slashed by about 50 percent.
During the talks, the two parties discussed the need for Laos and Thailand to have a rail transport agreement on freight to facilitate the rail shipment of containers between the two countries.
Mr Sakhone said that at present the two countries only had a rail transport agreement to ship containers from and to a third country via their territory.
The dry port developer told the guests that the logistics park and dry port are part of moves by the Lao government to transform Laos from being landlocked into a provider of ‘Land Link Transit Transport Services’ for the region and the world.
During the visit, Mr Monsit and his delegation toured the dry port and logistics park.