Thailand and Laos Ready for Bangkok-Vientiane Railway Network Trial Next Month

Thailand and Laos Ready for Bangkok-Vientiane Railway Network Trial Next Month
Credit: Ken Kobayashi

In an effort to boost trade in the region, Thailand is integrating its national railway with the Laos-China network. It is hoped that the network will improve connectivity for traveling and trading, while strengthening the regional logistic system with Thailand as a central hub.

Awirut Thongnate, Deputy Governor of the State Railway of Thailand (SRT), said that SRT has been working with the Laos National Railway Authority to officially open the Thailand-Laos railway next month, linking Thailand and China by rail for the first time.

The Thai rail system starts from Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Station in Bangkok, passes through major cities such as Udon Thani and Nong Khai in the northeast, and connects to the Lao rail network at Khamsavath Station in Vientiane. A trial run of the Bangkok-Vientiane railway will be conducted on July 13-14, following the successful trial run on May 21.

SRT has also provided training to Lao railway staff in areas such as train operation, station management and ticket sales to ensure smooth operation.

The Laos-China High-Speed Railway has already shortened the transportation time for goods from Thailand to China. With the Bangkok-Vientiane railway scheduled to open in July 2024, shipping times and customs procedures are expected to become even shorter and more efficient.

This opens up significant opportunities for Thai exports, especially food, seasonal goods and perishable items such as durian, which generated over 2 billion baht ($54.4 million) this year. It is projected that Thai exports to China via this railway will grow by 17%, reaching approximately 250 billion baht in 2024 and continuing to grow in the future.

This railway network represents a significant step forward in trade between Thailand and China, making China a major trading partner despite not sharing a land border.

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