VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/Asia News Network): Indonesia could connect to Chinese and European markets overland by rail transport through Laos, the developer of the Thanaleng Dry Port has told an Indonesian delegation.
Several countries in the region, particularly China, Laos and Thailand, are now enjoying cost-effective transport by rail through the dry port where the standard-gauge Laos-China and meter-gauge Laos-Thailand railways converge.
According to Tee Chee Seng, Vice President of Vientiane Logistics Park Co., Ltd., the dry port's developer, "The dry port's network already reaches Malaysia and Singapore and intends to reach Indonesia in the near future."
Arsjad Rasjid, Chairman of the Asean Business Advisory Council and Chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and his delegation visited the Thanaleng Dry Port International Border Checkpoint (Cargo Terminal) and Vientiane Logistics Park on June 1 to learn firsthand about the opportunities offered by the Lao integrated logistics hub.
“As of today, we only connect to Singapore, so our next dream is to try from .....or from Singapore to connect to Indonesia,” Tee Chee Seng said, referring to the Port of Batam in Indonesia.
Growing connectivity, he added, is a shared benefit. It adds fuel to the Lao government’s efforts to transform landlocked Laos into a land-link country, while bolstering Indonesia’s potential to become an important manufacturing base, as investors are looking at South-East Asia as an attractive alternative to relocate their manufacturing plants from old locations or set up new ones in Indonesia.
The vice president said "Expanding the logistics link between Vientiane and Indonesia is another logistical solution for your investors. "We hope Indonesia can help us complete the [Vientiane and Indonesia logistics link] dream."
The dry port, the first and most significant trading gateway between China and Southeast Asia, opened for service in December 2021.
Freight shipped from the area may reach European markets via the China-Europe rail network in just two weeks, as opposed to 45 days by sea transport.
“We have another alternative to faster deliver raw materials from China to plants in Indonesia or Southeast Asia and send finished products back to China or even Europe,” Tee Chee Seng said.
In response, Arsjad Rasjid suggested publicising the logistics link at the upcoming Asean Indo-Pacific Infrastructure Forum and Asean Business and Investment Summit, scheduled to take place in September in Jakarta. Laos and Indonesia are both members of Asean, a 10-member regional bloc.
“We are collecting data about projects in Asean and would like these to be showcased at these events. I think it’s good to showcase this,” Rasjid said.
During the talks, Sakhone Philangam, Managing Director of the dry port - one of nine dry ports planned to be built in Laos - explained how the dry port is operated.
The developer of the US$727 million Thanaleng Dry Port and Vientiane Logistics Park is also setting up a logistics complex comprising seven zones, including an export processing zone, where investors are welcome to do business.
Investment zones are also being arranged for agriculture, pharmaceutical and halal food processing for export.
Huge investment incentives are being offered, including a corporate tax holiday of 8-16 years and value-added tax reduction among others. Cheap electricity costs are another incentive encouraging lucrative business opportunities.
The dry port is part of the packaged Lao Logistics Link (LLL) project, which also includes the Vung Ang seaport in Vietnam’s Ha Tinh province and a planned railway linking the seaport to the dry port in Vientiane and a logistics park in Khammuan province through which the planned railway will run.
Through Vung Ang, the dry port can facilitate cargo shipment to countries in the Pacific region.