Laos is increasingly becoming a logistics hub for the sub-region, driven by the Laos-China Railway, which converges with the Laos-Thailand rail link at the Thanaleng Dry Port, Laos’ integrated logistics centre.

PM Sonexay issued the instruction after learning that it was possible to implement cost-cutting measures and remove unnecessary steps in the shipping process to bolster competitiveness and speed up the transport of freight.

Addressing the PM and his entourage, the Chairman of the Vientiane Logistics Park Co., Ltd., the operator of the dry port, Mr Chanthone Sitthixay, recommended that a system-wide inspection be carried out to calculate exactly which unnecessary procedures and costs could be cut. He was confident that if these issues were addressed, logistics costs could be reduced significantly.

An executive from the Laos-China Railway Company Limited told the prime minister that the company and Lao and Thai authorities in charge will hold talks in the near future to figure out ways to cut logistics costs.

Mr Chanthone said his company is ready to consider appropriate cost cuts and suggested that other stakeholders in the logistics chain should also consider doing so.
PM Sonexay welcomed the cost cut effort and the proposed inspection towards eliminating unnecessary steps and costs.

He said reducing logistics and transport costs is a common goal of the Lao government in efforts to increase competitiveness and transform landlocked Laos into a land link country.
The premier asked the government’s task force under the national committee on trade and transport facilitation to assign a team to work with the dry port, the Laos-China Railway Company and the Lao National Railway State Enterprise to work out cost structures and associated procedures that would streamline freight transport and cut the cost of logistics.

Authorities in charge were also instructed to look at the feasibility of the government lowering the fees it charges for certain logistics services.
While import and export declarations through Vientiane should be made at a centralised location at the dry port, the PM suggested that customs officials should decide whether inspections of containers being loaded from one train to another should be carried out at the dry port or at the Vientiane Tay railway station (which is operated by the Laos-China Railway Company). But containers entering Laos by truck for loading onto trains for onward travel should be inspected at the dry port.

The premier told authorities in charge to carry out proper inspections of all containers, whether carrying goods destined for import or export or in transit, instead of random inspections as is currently the practice, in order to prevent the movement of prohibited or inappropriate goods. “Modern technology should be used to replace manual inspections,” PM Sonexay said.

He also touched on complaints by clients about the difficulty of securing empty containers and their high leasing cost, calling for the relevant sectors to look into the issue.
PM Sonexay called for all stakeholders to work together to achieve the ultimate goal of making the Laos-China Railway ‘a route of friendship, cooperation and prosperity’ that facilitates trade and services for the shared benefits of the people of the region.
Explaining the operations of the dry port, its managing director Mr Sakhone Philangam said the multimodal transport facility functions as an international border checkpoint for freight.

Since it opened for service in December 2021, the dry port has handled a growing volume of cargo. In 2022, the dry port processed 49,183 containers, of which 36,768 were carrying freight destined for import or export, while 12,415 containers were in transit. Containers were shipped to countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, China and Russia.

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