The first freight train service to and from Laos was launched yesterday, with a shipment of Beerlao crossing the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge.
Cargo from a container yard at Thanaleng Railway Station in Vientiane, Laos, can now be shipped by train as far as the Laem Chaban seaport in Thailand.
Until now, trains to and from Vientiane carried passengers only across the 3.5km track, while freight was carried across the border to Nong Khai by truck.
The addition of freight trains along the route to and from Laos will make for faster and cheaper transportation of goods between the two countries. Moving more goods by train should also alleviate traffic at the border checkpoint, with fewer freight trucks clogging up the crossing.
The four freight services per day across the border mark a historical development for Laos, as freight trains have never before crossed in or out of the country.
The first cargo load to cross from Laos into Thailand by train was carrying a shipment of Beerlao yesterday afternoon.
Freight services by train will promote the exportation of Lao goods and reduce importation costs for goods from Thailand.
Lao Railways at Full Steam Ahead
The development of railways is seen as a pivotal point in Laos’s move from a landlocked country to a land-linked nation, with several rail routes in the works.
The Lao-China Railway project, set for completion by 2020, will link Vientiane Capital with Boten, on the border with China, will be connected to the Chinese rail system by the Yuxi–Mohan railway.
Meanwhile, Thailand is preparing to launch the country’s first bullet train that will run between Bangkok and Beijing, China, with Laos as one of the intermediate stations.