Thai Firm to Run Bokeo Mekong River Port

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In an effort to manage regional traffic the upcoming year, Laos has put forth a plan to launch a new port checkpoint located in the Mekong River, with a Thai firm winning the contract to develop and operate the port for 40 years.

The Ban Mom port is located in Ton Pheung, Bokeo province and is scheduled to launch in January, 2018.

A source has explained that the port is designed to service cargo vessels traveling along the Mekong River and is being contemplated for expansion into an agricultural hub linking Thailand and the south of China.

The port will primarily serve as a checkpoint for cargo ships traveling north to China with fees of US$40 (1,300 baht) for 100-tonne ships and $50 for larger ships.

According to the source, all vessels will be examined for proper registration and licenses, legally employed crew members, and the cargo being transported. Vessels traveling downstream may stop at Xiengkok port.

The Ban Mom port development plan is in line with an agreement between four nations — Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and China — on common navigation rules along the Mekong.

The rules covers six areas: safe navigation, water level management for cruising, navigation administration, procedures on accident investigation, search and rescue, and vessel monitoring processes.

The agreement, which was signed in 2000, has 14 ports designated to its route, and was developed to promote trade and tourism in the region, with each country expected to push along commercial navigation by member countries.

Of those ports, six are in Laos, two are in Thailand, four in China and two others in Myanmar.

The new port checkpoint is crafted to meet international standards and will boost efforts to combat smuggling of contraband into China.

Traffic in the Mekong is likely to spike when the China-Thailand free-trade agreement covering 703 items including EVs and agricultural products comes into effect early next year.

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