China-Laos-Thailand rail link plans up for talks

Construction News Laos
Thai and Lao authorities discuss bilateral railway connection in Vientiane in October last year. (Photo: Transport Ministry)

China-Laos-Thailand rail link plans up for talks

Thailand and Laos are in talks about the potential of a China-Laos-Thailand railway link which could reduce cargo transport costs by 30%-50% in three to five years, said the Department of Rail Transport (DRT) on Saturday.

Athipu Chitranukroh, deputy director-general of the DRT and Kitjaluck Srinuchsart, deputy director-general of the Customs Department, visited Laos recently to discuss the matter.

The high-speed network will be developed alongside current infrastructure and benefit both Thailand and neighbouring countries, observers say.

The government said the export-and-import trade value at the Thai-Lao border checkpoint in Nong Khai province in 2022 was worth 99.2 billion baht.

Despite the pandemic, border trade still grew in 2022 with an increase of 39.9%, or 28.2-billion-baht worth of increased revenue, compared to the year before.

Apart from the high-speed train network, staff from the two departments also visited the location of the new Khamsavath railway station in Vientiane.

The station is is 7.5 kilometres away from the Thanaleng railway station which connects with Thailand’s Nong Khai province.

The government is currently developing the Nong Khai railway station to become a cross-border goods inspection centre and a link from train to land transport.

The station will also function as a customs stop as well as a distribution centre.

The Thailand-Laos rail network will operate 14 trains daily and it is hoped that it will attract more investment from Laos and monetise the adjacent commercial area in Vientiane. The network will operate 14 trains daily with more investment likely to follow.