Thai Durian Exports to China Surge Amid Use of Laos-China Railway

Thai Durian Exports to China Surge by 365 Percent Amidst Utilization of China-Laos Railway
FILE: Durians in Thailand to be shipped to China via Laos-China Railway (photo: MGR Online)

Thai fruit exports to China, particularly durian, have experienced remarkable growth this year, with exporters citing the strategic use of the Laos-China Railway as the reason for their success.

The Laos-China railway has proven to be a pivotal factor in the surge of Thai fruit exports to China, with the route drastically reducing transit times to less than 15 hours, a stark improvement from the previous two-day journey by road.

Rachada Dhnadirek, Thailand’s Deputy Spokesperson for the Office of the Prime Minister, revealed that in the first five months of 2023, the Nong Khai crossing, acting as a conduit between Laos and China, saw exceptional growth for its top 10 export products.

Fresh durian, holding the first position, exhibited a staggering export value of more than 2 billion baht (over USD 57 million), marking an impressive 364 percent surge compared to the same period in 2022.

The success of the Thai fruit exports can be attributed to the advantages provided by the Laos-China Railway, which has facilitated faster and more efficient transportation.

Auramon Supthaweethum, Thailand’s Director-General of the Department of Trade Negotiations, emphasized the transformative impact as shipments via Nong Khai’s northeast dry port surged from THB 90.41 million in the railway’s December 2021 launch to THB 1.96 billion in 2022.

Auramon underscored that Thai fruits, alongside various other commodities, stand to benefit from the advantages presented by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-China Free Trade Area. She also mentioned the relevance of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership in facilitating this trade growth.

The Thai government remains committed to advancing the integration of the Thai-Laos-China rail system, with a particular focus on the Bangkok-Nong Khai high-speed train project, aimed at regional connectivity. The ongoing construction of Phase 1, connecting Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima and set for completion by 2026, is poised to significantly bolster Thailand’s rail transportation network.

This expansion not only holds the potential to strengthen regional linkages but also presents a promising avenue for increased exports to the Chinese market. With reduced transportation times and leveraging free trade agreements, Thailand can tap into enhanced trade opportunities, fostering economic growth and connectivity between the two nations