The Mohan port in Southwest China's Yunnan Province has handled 8,780 cross-border freight trains using the China-Laos Railway, significantly boosting bilateral trade and business activity, as the international transportation artery marked its second anniversary over the weekend, the China News Agency reported on Sunday.
According to China Railway's Yunnan branch, the railway has transported 29.1 million tons of cargo, including more than 6 million tons of cross-border cargo. Cargo categories have expanded from just a dozen of types of goods such as fertilizers and daily necessities to more than 2,700 items such as electronics, photovoltaic products and cold chain fruits.
The railway's Chinese passenger section recorded a peak daily volume of 83,000 people, and the Lao section's maximum daily volume reached 10,197 trips.
The China-Laos Railway on April 13 launched a cross-border passenger train that can shorten the travel time between Kunming, Yunnan's provincial capital, and Vientiane, capital city of the Laos, to less than one day. So far, the train has transported 95,000 cross-border passengers from 72 countries and regions, and the monthly passenger transport volume of the whole railway has risen from 600,000 trips at the early operating stage to 1.1 million at present, according to the railway's operator.
The railway starts from Kunming and ends at Vientiane, crossing through the Chinese Mohan port and the Laotian Boten port.
The 1,035-kilometer railway can transport cargo to 12 Belt and Road Initiative partner countries including Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and others, significantly promoting regional economic development.
In order to expand the economic benefits of the railway, railway operators in China and Laos cooperated with the bilateral tourism sector and launched multiple special sightseeing routes, boosting the tourism industry in Yunnan and Laos' Luang Prabang.
In the first three quarters of 2023, Yunnan's scenic city Xishuangbanna received 54.09 million tourists, up 38 percent year-on-year, and tourism revenue hit 73.2 billion yuan ($10.35 billion), up 47 percent year-on-year, said the Xishuangbanna local government.
During the same period, Laos attracted more than 2.4 million foreign tourists, up 285 percent year-on-year, with nearly 1 million coming from Thailand, more than 600,000 from Vietnam and nearly 480,000 from China, according to data from Laos' tourism authority.