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Laos-China Railway Carries More Than 4 Million Tonnes of Freight

Source: Vientiane Times

The amount of cross-border freight transported by the Laos-China Railway has risen to more than 4 million tonnes, according to Vientiane South station records.

A member of the management team told reporters visiting the station this week that since the railway opened in December 2021 up until June 5 this year, freight trains had made 4,641 trips carrying more than 4 million tonnes of imported and exported goods.

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Of this amount, about 3,450,000 tonnes were shipped from Laos to China and 650,900 tonnes from China to Laos. Goods shipped from Laos to China mostly comprised rubber, iron ore, zinc ore, lime, fruit, potato flour, and barley while products shipped from China to Laos included electrical equipment, spare part, and household goods.

Most of the freight carried went from Laos to China, while Thailand shipped fruit to China through Laos and also imported a large number of goods from China by rail. Some of the products imported from China were also shipped to Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, and Myanmar.

In the first five months of this year, 1,580,680 million tons of freight were shipped from Laos to China, and 160,910 million tonnes of goods were shipped from China to Laos.

Thailand is shipping increasing amounts of freight to China by rail, mainly agricultural produce. The time taken to ship goods by rail is three days, much faster than the previous transport route by road, which took about three weeks.

Thailand is keen to use the railway to ship more agricultural produce, especially orchids, rubber, cassava, palm oil, and fishery and livestock products, to China. Thai fruit shipped by rail can reach Chongqing in just 1-2 days.

Business operators in Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar are now using the railway to ship goods to and from China and beyond.

The Laos-China Railway runs from the Lao-Chinese border at Mohan-Boten southwards to Vientiane. It is the first external rail route to connect to China’s rail network and forms part of the larger Kunming-Singapore rail link, which will eventually pass through Laos, Thailand, and Malaysia.