All aboard as state railway chief prepares for surge in freight

All aboard as state railway chief prepares for surge in freight

Nong Khai station will be the main railway gateway to Laos and China. (Photo: Nong Khai railway station Facebook account)
Nong Khai station will be the main railway gateway to Laos and China. (Photo: Nong Khai railway station Facebook account)

Freight transport by train between Nong Khai and Laos will increase to 24 round trips a day over the next five years to handle growing cargo traffic from the rail link from China to Laos set to open next month, according to the State Railway of Thailand (SRT).

The SRT currently operates four daily round trips for cargo and another four round trips for passengers between Nong Khai and Tha Nalaeng in Laos.

With the launch of the rail services from China to Laos on Dec 2, freight transport volumes via Thailand from China are expected to expand rapidly.

SRT governor Nirut Maneephan said the SRT will capitalise on the growth by ramping up cargo rail connections with Laos from Nong Khai, from four round trips a day to 10 by the end of the year. 

From 2023 to 2025, the number of freight round trips will be boosted to 16 a day and to 24 by 2026, he said, adding each train will comprise 25 carriages. 

Mr Nirut said the SRT has met with the Customs Department and related agencies to prepare for the expected surge after the opening of the high-speed train link between China and Laos.

The SRT also plans to collaborate with other agencies to develop a cargo storage area at Nong Khai railway station and container yard at Tha Nalaeng station. 

This will enable cargo to be transported by train from the Laem Chabang port in Chon Buri to Nong Khai with onward delivery to China via Tha Nalaeng station. 

Mr Nirut said the project would bolster trans-border logistics and trade, leaving Thailand firmly positioned as a transport hub in the Mekong sub-region. 

The SRT governor added the project would help modernise the Nong Khai station and create jobs.

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