The cabinet has ordered the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) to quickly design and build a second bridge from Nong Khai province to Laos, to connect to the new China-Laos railway.
Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said a meeting of the government's committee on the Thai-Lao-Chinese railway, which he chaired on Thursday, ordered the SRT to quickly make the new bridge a reality.
It would cross the Mekong River from Nong Khai to Laos and facilitate cargo transport through Thailand, Laos and China on the transnational railway, he said, adding the committee gave the green light for the SRT to request a budget for the project.
Mr Anutin said representatives of many state organisations, including the Finance Ministry and the National Economic and Social Development Council, attended the Thursday meeting at Government House.
He said the Chinese-Lao railway started operating on Dec 2 and would bring economic development from western China through Laos to Thailand when the railway extends to Thailand.
This would cut cargo transport costs between China and Thailand via Laos by 30-50%, he said.
With the opening of the Chinese-Lao railway, cross-border cargo transport between Thailand and China was already one day faster than previous conventional transport and the cost was down by 25%, Mr Anutin said.
The railway transports vegetables and fruit, everyday products, machinery, computer equipment, electrical appliances, cars, natural rubber and processed wood, he said.