Source: Vientiane Times
All seven freight stations on the Laos-China Railway are now operational following the opening of Xay station in Oudomxay province on Tuesday.
The opening of freight rail stations in Vientiane, Phonhong, Vangvieng, Kasy, Luang Prabang, Xay and Nateuy is a milestone for the development of logistics in Laos and will enable much smoother and quicker transport of goods through Laos and the region.
Xay station is located in northern Laos, about 530km from Vientiane. Strategically situated in Xay district, Oudomxay province, it is just 30km from the Chinese border and 20km from Nateuy station, a major stop on the northern section of the railway.
Covering an area of 4,582 square metres, the station handles both passenger and freight transport.
According to the Laos-China Railway Company, all of the equipment and staff needed are in place to ensure efficient freight transport and boost regional trade.
The railway runs from the Boten border crossing in northern Laos, bordering China, to Vientiane, with trains running at a maximum speed of 160km per hour.
The transport of goods on the railway through northwestern Laos cuts costs by 30-40 percent compared to transport by road.
The Laos-China railway is a strategic part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the Lao government’s plan to transform Laos from a landlocked country into a land link within the region.
The railway enables faster and more convenient travel through Laos between Thailand to China and beyond.
So far, over 7.5 million passengers and more than 8.69 million metric tons of goods have been transported, with 1.25 million tonnes of freight being delivered in September alone, according to a China Daily report on October 20.
Shi Yugang, deputy secretary of the Communist Party of the China Yunnan Provincial Committee was quoted in the China Daily as saying that in the first eight months of this year, the value of exports from Laos to Yunnan was more than 5 billion yuan (US$691 million), up 30 percent year-on-year.
“The value of their exported tapioca flour alone reached US$250 million, benefiting a wide range of farmers,” he said.
“At present, the Laos-Thailand railway linking the two capitals of Vientiane and Bangkok is speeding up (its construction) and will be connecting to the China-Laos railway in the near future.”
Opening for service in December 2021, the 422-km Laos-China railway slices through the provinces of Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Oudomxay and Luang Namtha and ends at the Chinese border in Boten, passing through 75 tunnels with a combined length of 197.83km.