In a groundbreaking move that augments Thai exports to China and slashes associated expenditures, the operating hours of border checkpoints have been extended. Sakhone Philangam, the Managing Director at Laos’ Thanaleng Dry Port, argues that not only will this initiative help dissipate daylight congestion at the Vientiane Logistics Park, but it’s also bound to smooth the transit path for Thai exports running from Laem Chabang to China. Impressively, these tweaks in operations will likely cut operational costs by half.
The Thanaleng Dry Port, alongside the Logistics Park, is strategically placed just a stone’s throw away, a mere kilometer, from the Laos-Thailand Friendship Bridge in Vientiane. These establishments form a pivotal nexus for freight exchange between China and South-East Asia. Beyond facilitating transit, the land port is compliant with global trade standards and operates as an advanced logistics hub, linking ASEAN countries to the broader international community.
The vast expanse of this area, spanning 382 hectares, houses an international railway station, port, international sorting center, and customs checkpoints. Every piece of this colossal puzzle is interconnected to foster flawless connectivity. Consequently, it can accommodate up to 3,000 container trucks each day, proving its efficiency with 2-minute, quick-fire inspections per train made possible via QR-code scanning.
Making the most of these efficiencies, Thai operators have heaped praises on the system, noting that cost reductions, including lowering of refrigeration expenses, have been nothing short of remarkable. Pleased with the outcome, they are now rooting for an extension of operational hours for border checkpoints on the Thai side, specifically during late-night hours. This measure would further hone efficiency and drive down transportation costs.
Viengkhone Sitthixay, the Managing Director of Sitthi Logistics Lao Co Ltd, emphasizes the exigency for Thailand to sway towards the nocturnal operation of the Nong Khai checkpoint. He suggests an optimal division of border services, with passenger transit occurring during daylight hours and cargo movement getting a clear run from evening to early morning. Such a strategy would mitigate bottlenecks on the Friendship Bridge, accommodating an increased transport capacity for 400 to 500 containers.
Looking into the future, investment in such initiatives could catapult Laos into the prominence of becoming ASEAN’s cargo hub. This picture sees the transportation of freshly procured produce from Laem Chabang in Thailand to Kunming in China in a brisk 20-hour span. Given that the electricity tariffs in Laos are a notch lower, this could potentially result in decreased freezing costs for Thai entrepreneurs, thereby lining their pockets with plumper profit margins, as pointed out by Viengkhone.
Viengkhone rooted for Thailand’s Land Bridge project, “I am a staunch supporter, aspiring for heightened comprehension and collaboration between Thailand and Laos to serve as a bridge to ASEAN. United, we stand stronger and can shape our collective capabilities to optimize resource utilization,” he added.