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Luang Namtha Bans Trucks Amid Huge Backlog Awaiting Entry To China

Source: Vientiane Times

Luang Namtha authorities have temporarily banned haulage trucks from entering the province on their way to China, as hundreds of trucks are already waiting in line to cross the border.

The bottleneck has arisen because of the Covid-19 outbreak, which has led the Chinese Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control to limit the number of trucks and people entering the country from Laos, according to the Luang Namtha provincial Administration Office.

About 350 trucks have been arriving at the Boten checkpoint each day but Chinese authorities are allowing only 150 to cross the border.

There are now a large number of trucks parked near the border and along the road leading to the border, which are causing an obstruction.

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To ease congestion, Luang Namtha authorities have called for a halt to the arrival of more trucks, although vehicles carrying agricultural produce may continue to enter Luang Namtha until December 25.

Before the Covid outbreak intensified, Chinese authorities were allowing at least 300 trucks to cross from Laos into China each day.

The Boten border crossing is a major travel and trade route between Laos and China and has become particularly important because most other border crossings around the country have been closed for many months.

China remains Laos’ largest export market and is also the largest foreign investor in Laos.

The value of goods exported by Laos to China in the first 11 months of 2021 exceeded US$2 billion, while Laos imported Chinese goods worth US$1.17 billion.

Laos exports copper products, agricultural produce including bananas, beans, sweet potatoes, rubber, cassava, sweetcorn, watermelons, passion fruit and tamarind, and processed wood to China.

China’s main exports to Laos include vehicles, electrical devices and equipment, plastic products, chemical equipment, animal feed and fertiliser.

The government hopes that the newly-opened Laos-China railway will be a huge boost to trade and investment between Laos and China and within the Asean region.