Rise in Vehicle Numbers at Boten Border

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The number of vehicles crossing the Boten international checkpoint between Laos and China in LuangNamtha province has been reported to have increased as of this week.

Usually about 400 cars and heavy trucks from Laos, China and other countries are crossing the Laos-China border daily.

Head of the management committee for the Boten international checkpoint, Mr Phonsay Chanthasone told Vientiane Times on Monday that about 500 vehicles were recorded as crossing the Boten border last week.

So far this week, Boten international checkpoint seems to be seeing about 1,000 vehicles crossing the border daily between the two countries, he reported.

Generally the border crossing sees 400 vehicles in a day but the recent increase has been attributed to the arrival of the first construction vehicles from China.

Many construction vehicles have been headed to LuangPrabang province from the Laos-China border in LuangNamtha province after the Laos-China railway was officially opened for construction on Sunday.

Mr Phonsay added that it is possible that the number of vehicles crossing the Boten border could rise to up to 1,200 vehicles per day during the period when the construction vehicles for the railway project are transported into Laos.

A railway bridge over the Mekong in LuangPrabang province will be part of the planned 417-km Laos-China railway running from the Chinese border to Vientiane through the four provinces of LuangNamtha, Oudomxay, LuangPrabang, and Vientiane.

Officials at Boten international checkpoint in LuangNamtha province are working hard to introduce measures to minimise traffic chaos at the crossing between the two countries as the Laos-China railway project commences.

Mr Phonsay Chanthasone told the press earlier this month that the Boten border checkpoint was being closed at 8:00pm but that when the 500 or 1,000 Chinese vehicles came to cross into Laos, the border officials planned to remain open until 10:00pm in a bid to reduce traffic congestion.

The construction of the Laos-China railway is good because it will reduce the number of vehicles being used for cross border goods transportation.

Right now, the roads in the country are quite small and their quality is not very high.

The total value of goods imported and exported via the Boten international border was estimated at US$86 million for the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

Officials reported that there are 250,000 people including tourists and traders crossing the border in a year.

Source: Vientiane Times

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