Lao Freight Forwarders Suffering from Competition

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Transport service providers and freight forwarders in Laos are suffering from increased competition with the number of companies operating in the sector having increased.

Despite the transport service sector expanding and better facilities being provided other issues still need to be resolved or improved by the government and relevant sector, Lao International Freight Forwarders Association (LIFFA) President, Mr Prachit Sayavong said at a meeting in Vientiane yesterday.

Most of Lao transport companies are still relatively new, small, operate in isolation, have limited management experience and are not received training, he reported.

Lao freight forwarders also lacked opportunities to participate in providing services to different investment projects in Laos, while foreign competition was increasing, said Mr Prachit.

“Lao freight forwarders are also struggling with infrastructure as many roads within the country are still poor and bilateral transport agreement implementation between Laos and neighbouring countries is not fair as local trucks cannot service other countries, while foreign trucks can make shipments here,” he commented.

These issues cannot be resolved without close cooperation and assistance from the government, especially the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MPWT).

The association proposed the government step up dissemination of regulations and laws covering freight forwarders and logistics, and establish coordination mechanisms to strengthen the association in order to help the local industry.

The association also suggested the government examine the number of freight forwarders and logistic companies in Laos encouraging them to join the association while collecting statistics on the amount of goods traded within the country and through borders.

The country currently only has a customs warehouse where goods are stored while waiting to pay customs duties, but there is no logistic warehouse.

LIFFA previously asked the government to convert the container park at Vientiane’s Thanalaeng railway station into a dry port that would ease logistics in line with international transport systems and regulations.

At the meeting, the association reviewed operations over the last six years from 2009 to 2015 and discussed plans for 2016-2019. It also agreed to select a new board to take the organisation forward.

At the opening of the meeting, Deputy Minister of Public Works and Transportation, Mr Viengsavanh Siphandone stressed for the association to continue working hard for growth.

LIFFA is a non-profit organisation, established to bring under one single umbrella freight forwarding companies, transport companies and customs brokers, which was officially established in 2003.

It functions and operates under State laws and regulations supervised by the MPWT.

Source: Vientiane Times

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