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China-Laos Railway delivers economic benefits in first month

Updated:2022-01-05 12:11:42   Xinhua

Passengers are seen at the Vang Vieng Station of the China-Laos Railway in Vang Vieng, Laos, Jan. 3, 2022. (Xinhua/ Li Huan)

BEIJING, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- The China-Laos Railway has yielded fruitful outcomes in passenger and cargo transportation since it launched operations a month ago, marking a major step forward for regional connectivity and economic cooperation between the two countries and across Southeast Asia.

The latest data shows that the 1,035-km railway, connecting Kunming in southwest China's Yunnan Province with the Lao capital Vientiane, handled about 670,000 passengers and 170,000 tonnes of cargo within its first month.

The section in China handled up to 31.5 pairs of trains each day, and the number of daily passengers has climbed from approximately 19,000 to about 33,000, with a total of 620,000 passengers traveling on the Chinese section in one month, according to the China State Railway Group Co., Ltd., the Chinese railway operator.

The section in Laos also saw robust travel demand, especially during the weekends and holidays, with a total of 50,000 passenger trips made since its launch.

Open to traffic on Dec. 3, 2021, the China-Laos Railway, a landmark project for high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, is the first overseas railway jointly constructed and operated by the two countries.

The railway signals a new journey for China-Laos cooperation as it puts the landlocked Southeast Asian country on track to becoming a land-linked hub, promotes local tourism and will ultimately benefit the people of the two countries.

A World Bank report shows that the railway could potentially increase aggregate income in Laos by up to 21 percent over the long term.

The section connecting Vientiane and Boten (at the northern border with China) could provide Laos with a land link to global and regional supply chains, which could make the country more attractive to investors, create new jobs, and accelerate economic growth, says the report.

Thanks to the newly launched railway, travel orders in Pu'er and Xishuangbanna in Yunnan Province surged by 92.4 percent and 59.9 percent, respectively, from a month ago.


The China-Laos Railway helps to build a new logistics passage between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, cutting the travel time for freight trains linking Kunming and Vientiane to only 30 hours when running at the fastest speed.

To date, the China-Laos Railway has operated 380 cargo trains, including 70 international cargo trains, which have transported about 50,000 tonnes of freight.

The goods shipped via the railway include rubber, fertilizers and daily necessities as well as electronics, photovoltaic products, communication products, automobiles, textiles, vegetables and flowers.

In the future, the China-Laos Railway is likely to be a key channel for the trade in goods between Southeast Asia and Europe.

According to Qi Dan, general manager of Yuxinou (Chongqing) Logistics Co., Ltd., one of the operators on the route, goods from Southeast Asia can be transported to Europe via the China-Europe freight-train routes and the China-Laos Railway, and vice versa, which will add new impetus to the economic and trade exchanges between Central Europe and Southeast Asia.

Looking forward, the freight volume of the China-Laos Railway is expected to continue increasing steadily, particularly after the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) took effect on Jan. 1, according to the Chinese railway operator.

"RCEP would open a new chapter for regional economic and trade ties. It will also put Laos under the global spotlight," said Bounleuth Luangpaseuth, vice president of the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, noting that the newly-completed China-Laos Railway will play an active role in the RCEP framework. 

Keywords:   China-Laos Railway RECP