Thai govt steps up efforts for closer rail links with Laos and China


BANGKOK (The Nation/Asia News Network): Several state organisations have received orders from the Transport Ministry to improve rail transportation between Thailand, Laos and China.

Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob said on Thursday (Aug 4) after the meeting with the committee to connect railways between the three countries.

He said the committee had approved the guidelines for related organisations and ordered the Highways Department to ask for a budget to study the construction of a new bridge across the Mekong River for both cars and trains.

Meanwhile, the committee approved orders for the State Railway of Thailand to hasten construction of the Bangkok-Nong Khai high-speed railway and to propose the Khon Kaen - Nong Khai dual-track railway project to the Cabinet.

The committee also approved turning the Nong Khai railway station to become a products transfer area.

The committee will also study the potential for public-private partnership at Na Tha station in Nong Khai to prepare for transportation in the future, including an action plan to create a balance between demand and current capacity.

The committee will also consider the freight rate and time cost to support rail as the main transportation of choice between Thailand, Laos, and China.

Saksayam said that the committee had told the Customs Department to find mobile x-ray systems for the Nongkhai border checkpoint.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry has been told to gather information on the development in Laos to exchange and integrate with related organisations in Thailand to make an export strategy.

The committee also told the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry to negotiate with the Chinese government on opening six land checkpoints for movement of fruits, while the Commerce Ministry will monitor the trading situation between Thailand and China and utilise rail transportation to support trade.

The Industry Ministry has been told to hasten the construction of the Udon Thani Industrial City, while the Public Health Ministry has been told to facilitate checking of passengers’ baggage and health products.

Saksayam added that the committee had ordered Team Thailand (government agencies in foreign countries) to visit Laos from Aug 30 to Sept 1. They will study the conditions and potential of the Nong Khai-Vientiane route to evaluate transportation and make a plan to connect infrastructure.

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Thailand , railway , Laos , China

   

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