VIENTIANE, July 1 (Xinhua) -- A freight transit yard of China-Laos Railway was officially put into operation on Friday with the first railway containers heading to Thailand's Laem Chabang port.
This makes the international logistics channel of land-sea intermodal transport more convenient.
The China-Laos Railway adopts international standards while the Thai railway currently uses 1-meter gauge system. Railway freight transport between Laos and Thailand requires reloading operations.
The freight transit yard of China-Laos Railway's Vientiane South Station is expected to work to improve the efficiency of freight transport between China and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries.
The freight transit yard will greatly benefit Laos given its significant role in bolstering the transport of goods, Lao Deputy Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone said during a speech delivered at the opening ceremony held on Friday.
Laos always attaches great importance to and supports the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), said the deputy prime minister, adding that the initiative is in line with Laos' strategy to transform the country from being landlocked to a land-linked hub in the region.
"I believed that the railway would create more business opportunities and bring great benefit to Laos. The railway is significantly cutting the time and logistics costs for cargo transportation," said Sonexay. "The railway will result in the growth of many industries like trade and investment."
"From now on, the cross-border freight train operated by the China-Laos Railway can, to the north, reach China's Chengdu, Chongqing, Wuhan, Xi'an and other logistics distribution centers, and be connected to the China-Europe Railway Express network, and, to the south, reach port cities such as Laem Chabang of Thailand and Singapore," Yuan Minghao, general manager of the Laos-China Railway Co., Ltd. (LCRC), a joint venture based in Vientiane responsible for operating the Railway's Lao section.
The LCRC is also investor of the transit yard located in Thanaleng Dry Port on the outskirts of the Lao capital Vientiane.
"Gradually, a new international land-sea logistics corridor will take shape, which will further enhance the status and role of the China-Laos Railway, and reduce cross-border logistics costs. It will provide reliable transportation support to Lao and ASEAN people and enterprises," Yuan said.
Chanthone Sitthixay, chairman of Vientiane Logistics Park Co. Ltd., a local company running the Thanaleng Dry Port where the transit yard is located, said the freight transit yard will create more favorable conditions for expanding economic and trade cooperation.
He added it will provide cost-effective services for the shipment of products to regional markets and beyond.
So far by June 30, the China-Laos Railway has carried 3.36 million passengers with the railway's Lao section carrying 0.48 million passengers, 4.69 million tons of freight and 0.77 million tons China-Laos cross-border goods.
The China-Laos Railway is a docking project between the China-proposed BRI and Laos' strategy to convert itself from a landlocked country to a land-linked hub.