Ministry to bolster freight in Greater Mekong area

Ministry to bolster freight in Greater Mekong area

Border trade between China, Burma and Laos has flourished since the opening of the Highway R3-A in 2011. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Border trade between China, Burma and Laos has flourished since the opening of the Highway R3-A in 2011. (Bangkok Post file photo)

Goods transport efficiency in the Greater Mekong Subregion will be boosted with faster logistics management and more routes between the six GMS countries.

Better transport between Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and the Chinese southern province of Yunnan will result in increased imports and exports as well as further promote the East-West Economic Corridor, Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said.

Among the plans is a move to reduce duplicate checks of goods transported between the Thai province of Mukdahan and Savannakhet province in southern Laos, he said.

The current practice requires businessmen to have their goods inspected twice by officials stationed at checkpoints in the two provinces which causes transportation delays.

A Transport Ministry meeting decided to have the job done at one checkpoint.

This is possible if each checkpoint employs officials from the two countries to work, Mr Arkhom said.

Another measure to speed up checks on products is the use of what the minister called "a network of electronic information".

Information including the types of goods, vehicle numbers and drivers' details will be sent to officials at checkpoints in advance, so they will not need to check every single transport vehicle.

Only random checks are needed, Mr Arkhom said.

"Our aim is to make sure the two countries can share and jointly use the information," Mr Arkhom said. He expected the streamlined practice to begin as soon as April or May.

"This will be a model for other GMS countries."

Mr Arkhom said his ministry is also planning to hold talks with transport ministers in neighbouring countries on a proposal to improve and expand routes for goods transportation.

The new infrastructure development will see more convenient transportation between Myanmar and Thailand through the Yangon-Myawaddy-Mae Sot route and between Thailand, Laos and Vietnam through the Mukdahan-Savannakhet road No.9 route. This road heads to Vietnam.

The plan also covers a route linking Sa Kaeo's Aranyaprathet district in Thailand to the Cambodian town of Poipet.

"These routes will be part of the East-West Economic Corridor," Mr Arkhom said, referring to the economic development programme linking countries such as Myanmar, to the west of Thailand, and Vietnam to the far east.

The meeting also agreed to promote a route running from the third Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge, which links Nakhon Phanom with the Lao province of Khammouane, to road No.12, which connects Laos, Vietnam and the Chinese city of Nanning.

This route will be a good alternative to the Mukdahan-Savannakhet route which requires vehicles to travel a greater distance, Mr Arkhom said.

It will benefit the transportation of large amounts of vegetables and fruit to China, the minister said.

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