In an interview with Chinese State Media, China Media Group, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand praised the Lao-China Railway for boosting regional trade, especially between Thailand and China.
“I think the building of the China-Laos-Thailand railway is of great significance; the railway development will promote economic growth,” the princess replied when asked by the interviewer how she views the significance of the train link.
Princess Sirindhorn also alluded to the growing economic benefits, especially for Thai agricultural workers, of the opening of the railway.
“Many Thai fruit vendors I personally know told me that they have witnessed a surge in their fruit sales since the China-Laos railway was put into operation.”
According to CGTN, the first China-Laos-Thailand express freight train departed from Chengdu International Railway Port in Chengdu, the capital of China’s Sichuan Province, with cargo bound for Thailand on 17 November. The freight train will cut delivery time for goods from Chengdu to Thailand down to five days from the previous 10-24 days.
The departure of the first freight train connecting China and Thailand through Laos marks a significant step forward in turning Laos from landlocked to “land-linked,” with the region, as remarked in the World Bank report from 2020, Transforming Laos from a Land-locked to a Land-linked Economy. Further development of this initiative could also attract traffic that is currently using maritime and air transport routes.
The railway could also significantly reduce land transport prices by 40-50 percent between Vientiane and Kunming, China, and by 32 percent between Kunming and the Port of Laem Chabang in Thailand.