Laos expects to cut freight transport costs by railway

The transport of goods by railway could cut costs by 30 to 50 percent of the current charges for road transportation, a senior Lao government official said on Thursday.

Lao and Thai authorities last week held an official ceremony to hand over a 38,000 square-meter container yard and other facilities at Laos’ Thanalaeng railway station in the capital Vientiane, as part of the Lao-Thai Railway Construction Project Phase II (Section I). Both sides plan to initiate a single-window inspection system for goods to be transported by rail and turning Thanalaeng railway station into a dry port.

Lao government has announced its plan to build several railways to link the existing rail system with neighboring countries and the rest of Asia. Laos currently has only 3.5 km of railway track linking Vientiane with Thailand’s Nong Khai province for passenger transport. Freight costs between Vientiane and Bangkok Port (640 km) range from 1,233 U.S. dollars to 2,088 U.S. dollars per 40-foot container.