Laos-China high-speed railway to bring increased trade opportunities

The high-speed railway from Laos to China is full steam ahead as Laotian authorities say they hope it will increase trade opportunities for the region. The link, known as the Vientiane-Boten railway was opened late last year on December 3, as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Now, the railway operates daily to offer more economical travel, cutting travel times by at least a third.

Vientiane-Boten railway forms a section of the Kunming-Singapore railway project, connecting Kunming with Singapore through Laos, Thailand, and Malaysia. Kunming is the capital of China’s Yunnan province. But, the railway is proving to be beneficial in more ways than one.

The link has also brought more visitors from Thailand to Luang Prabang, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and has been made one of the stations along the line. From the second week of May until the end of July, when Laos reopened for travellers, around 250,000 tourists from Thailand visited its neighbouring country.

Such an increase in tourism numbers has resulted in an additional 800 million baht, according to government officials.

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The railway also connects the Thanaleng Dry Port, and Vientiane Logistics Park, offering a faster way to transport fresh goods. Tee Chee Seng, the president of Vientiane Logistics Park says the ability to keep produce fresh along the way is a huge benefit to the market.

“Fresh products fetch good prices. Those who benefit from quick transport are consumers and farmers.”

As the previous transport time was more than five days, the new railway has produce being transferred from Vientiane to the northern end of Laos which borders China. Now, the time is clocked at only three days.

The 2,000 rai logistics park and dry port project is set to be complete by 2027, with the first of four phases nearing completion. Tee says the project will add 20,000 more jobs to the country.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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