VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/Asia News Network): The Thanaleng Dry Port (TDP) and Vientiane Logistics Park (VLP) are working with the relevant sectors to ensure quick move of goods containers that Thailand will export to China via Laos, the park’s developer told the Thai Ambassador to Laos.
Ambassador Jesda Katavetin and his officials on Wednesday visited the dry port and logistics park in Vientiane to discuss with the TDP and VLP operator ways to ease the shipment of Thai goods to China via the Laos-China Railway.
Welcoming the diplomats, Chairman of Vientiane Logistics Park Co., Ltd. Mr Chanthone Sitthixay told the ambassador that a recent problem concerning the shipment of Thai rice to China was due to the incorrect declaration of the category of rice and had nothing to do with procedures or the Lao government’s policy.
The problems that arose meant that the rice could not be transported across the Lao border.
Chanthone also dismissed a rumour that Laos was unwilling to allow Thai farm products to be shipped to China via Laos, in order to prevent possible impacts on Lao farm products.
The false report emerged after Thai farm products declared to be transported to China via Laos’ northern Luang Namtha province were found be shipped through Vientiane instead, which caused the shipment problem.
Chanthone reiterated that Thai farm products could be transported through Laos in line with Lao laws, citing the confirmation made to him by the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry after he asked for his comments on the matter.
“There is no problem on the Lao side,” the chairman said.
He added that the Lao government does not have a policy of preventing goods from a foreign country from being transported through Laos.
“The (Lao) government’s strategy is to transform Laos from being landlocked into a land-link country and to provide cross-border transport services and become a land link transit transport service,” he told the guests.
Chanthone informed the ambassador that he had discussed the matter with the Lao Minister of Agriculture and Forestry and come up with the idea of drawing up a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Vientiane Logistics Park Co., Ltd. and the ministry.
The MOU is intended to provide guidance on how to facilitate cross-border transport.
The company also plans to publish a list of the goods that can be shipped or transported through Laos in line with the country’s laws. Documents required for shipping will also be made available at the logistics park office for shipping companies.
Chanthone said his company has done its best to provide the necessary information to Thai businesses and help address any problems.
The chairman informed the ambassador that he had coordinated with Chinese authorities in Kunming and agreed to jointly establish a sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) centre in Vientiane where goods destined for China will be inspected. The centre is expected to be complete by no later than the middle of this year.
“This is also what we are going to do to facilitate Thai businesses,” Mr Chanthone said.
In addition, Vientiane Logistics Park Co., Ltd. has prepared 40-50 trucks to provide transport between the dry port and the Laos-China Railway’s Vientiane Station free of charge. In this regard, Chanthone warned businesses to be aware of brokers who might offer transport services with a charge.
The dry port acts as a border checkpoint for freight, similar to a seaport-based or airport-based transit area or international arrival zone, where procedures are streamlined to enable the smooth flow of trucks and freight.
To see what has been done firsthand, the chairman said he had held talks with the relevant authorities to invite the governor of Thailand’s Nong Khai province to visit the dry port and logistics park, which are located next to the Laos-Thailand railway station and the Laos-Thailand Mekong Friendship Bridge 1 connecting to the Thai province.
Laos’ Minister of Agriculture and Forestry will also be invited to tour the dry port and logistics park.
Ambassador Jesda said many Thai businesses are interested in transporting their goods through the dry port and railway.
He underlined the need to provide the correct information to businesses after learning that many had misunderstood exactly what was involved.