Thailand and Malaysia plan rail network to connect ASEAN countries with China

VIENTIANE — Thailand’s Transport Ministry is working with its Malaysian partner to develop a high-speed rail (HSR) network that will connect four member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and China, according to a media report.

The talks follow on from the outstanding success of China-Laos HSR link began operating the Laos-China Railway in December 3, 2021.

A Laos-Thailand Railway train (left) recently arrived to pick up empty containers at the Thanaleng Dry Port, which would be loaded with Thai goods for shipment to China via Laos. | PHOTO: Vientiane Times/Asia News Network

According to the media report, the Thai and Malaysian sides have discussed the project and Malaysia has agreed with Thailand’s idea of setting up a joint working panel to discuss a rail network linking China, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore.

Thai authorities will visit Vientiane later this month to discuss the extension of the Laos-China Railway to Thailand. Negotiations will take place from August 30 to September 1, focusing on the connection of the railway from Vientiane to Thailand’s Nong Khai province.

Extensions of the standard-gauge Laos-China Railway and the one-meter gauge Laos-Thailand Railway have been installed inside the Thanaleng Dry Port near the Mekong River in Laos, to facilitate the transfer of freight.

Businesses are eyeing opportunities offered by the cost-effective logistics and transport services offered by the railways and the dry port, which is an important gateway between Asean and China.

SCG Logistics Management, Thailand’s leading provider of domestic and international integrated logistics services, said the new transport route incorporating the Laos-China Railway could cut costs by up to 20 percent, according to Thailand’s Bangkok Post.

SCG Logistics Management recently unveiled the new logistics route using the Laos-China Railway. It is expected that the Thailand-Laos-China route will generate 650 million baht in revenue in 2022. This will be driven by lower-cost services and streamlined one-stop customs clearance for imports and exports.

Thanks to the operation of the railways, the travel time between Chiang Rai and Kunming can be shortened from two days to about 10 to 15 hours compared to transport by road, Managing Director of SCG Logistics Management Paitoon Jiranantarat was quoted as saying by the Bangkok Post. Compared to sea freight, logistics costs can be cut by up to 20 percent for shipment to destinations such as Kunming, Chengdu and Chongqing in China, he added.

The Thailand-Laos-China rail route enables the transport of all types of products, including food, fruit and vegetables, consumer goods, construction equipment and many other items.

SourceThe Inquirer – Vientiane Times/Asia News Network, 22 August 2022. https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/…/thailand-malaysia-plan…

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