China-Laos Railway demonstrates strong passenger, freight growth
Passengers take the train from Boten to the Laotian capital of Vientiane, a part of the China-Laos Railway, on April 13. (Photo by LI HUAN/CHINA NEWS SERVICE)

The China-Laos Railway has seen significant passenger and freight transportation growth since opening in December, demonstrating the cross-border rail corridor’s strong transportation capacity in boosting international logistics, the railway’s operator said on Wednesday.

As of Tuesday, the international rail corridor had handled more than 2.7 million passenger trips and 2.9 million metric tons of cargo in the five months since it opened, the company said.

The line transported 1.1 million tons of cargo between April 4 and Tuesday alone-more than five times the volume transported in the first month of operation.

The line has transported cargo bound for more than 10 countries and regions including Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Malaysia, Cambodia and Singapore.

The variety of cargo has been expanded to more than 100 categories, including rubber, fertilizer, electronics, automobiles and flowers.

The section of railway in China handled nearly 2.39 million passenger trips, while the section in Laos handled 312,000.

More cross-border e-commerce cargo is being transported by the railway. To improve efficiency in the transportation of such products, a new mechanism has been developed by China Kunming Railway Group, the regional railway operator, and Kunming Free Trade Zone for freight loading in the FTZ.

At the free trade zone, e-commerce products for export are collected, inspected by customs officers and loaded into containers. The containers are then sealed by customs and sent to the railway station to begin their journey to Laos.

“Cross-border logistics is essential to international e-commerce business. We have been paying great attention to this important logistics corridor, the China-Laos Railway,” Zhou Jie, manager of Soaraway Corp, an international trade and logistics company based in Kunming, Yunnan province, told People’s Railway newspaper.

The Lancang-Mekong Express freight train saves time and boosts cost efficiency, Zhou added. The company has sent more than 1 million e-commerce products via the service.

To cater to the diverse needs of travelers, cheaper services at a slower speed are offered on the Laos section.

Regular trains will travel at up to 120 kilometers per hour for commutes between the Lao capital of Vientiane and Boten, a border city.

Travelers can also take high-speed trains between the two cities that run at up to 160 km/h, and more trains run during Chinese and Lao holidays.

Eight bullet trains and two regular trains are operated daily in Laos, and 36 high-speed trains are operated in China.

The China-Laos Railway began service on Dec 3, connecting Kunming, the capital of Yunnan, with Vientiane.

The flagship project is the result of mutually benefits between the two countries and serves as a channel for greater trade flow, balanced development and cultural exchanges.