A delegation from Thailand’s railway and customs departments visited Laos on Thursday to discuss ways to further cooperation in cross-border transportation, including links to China.
The delegation was led by Athipu Chitranukroh, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Rail Transport (DRT), and Kitjaluck Srinuchsart, Deputy Director-General of the Thai Customs Department. Representatives of Thailand’s Railway Technology Development Institute also participated in the visit, according to a DRT news update.
The two sides discussed the feasibility of a China-Laos-Thailand railway link that would help reduce cargo transport costs by 30-50% over the next three to five years.
Meanwhile, officials said that despite the Covid-19 pandemic, cross-border trade grew by 39.9% in 2022 compared to the previous year.
The Thai delegation and their Lao counterparts visited the site of Vientiane Khamsavath Station, part of a 7.5-kilometer extension of the cross-border Laos-Thailand Railway connecting Thailand’s Nong Khai with Thanaleng Station in Vientiane Capital.
The new station and railway extension are being financed with a loan supported by the Thai government through the Neighboring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency (NEDA).
The line will eventually be linked to the Laos-China Railway in order to easily transport freight between Thailand and China via Laos.
According to Thai railway officials, an 80-hectare area around Nong Khai Railway Station in Thailand has been earmarked for the development of an international freight clearance yard and container storage area.
Officials have not disclosed the opening date for Khamsavath Station, which was expected to open at the end of last year.