The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) flagship project of China-Laos Railway has facilitated 27.87 million passenger journeys and 32.56 million tons of cargo since it entered operation on December 3, 2021, China Media Group reported on Thursday, reflecting the strong momentum in China-Laos business trade and personnel exchanges.
So far in 2024, the railway has transported 2.01 million tons of cargo, of which 55,000 tons are cross-border cargo, an increase of 29.7 percent year-on-year. Over half of railway cargo transport with ASEAN countries was facilitated by the China-Laos Railway, according to the report.
The China-Laos Railway is now a common means of importing tropical fruits and beer from Thailand and Laos that is then sold in Southwest China's Sichuan Province and South China's Guangdong Province. In addition, China's vegetables, fruits, photovoltaics and home appliances were transported to Southeast Asian countries via the rail link, the report said.
With the increasing number of cargo categories and volume, the regular Kunming-Vientiane Express shortens travel time between the two cities to 26 hours. It has also formed an international logistic artery by linking with China-Europe freight train network, which made the travel time from countries such as Laos and Thailand to European railway to 15 days.
For passenger transport, the China-Laos Railway facilitated 1.86 million passenger trips, of which 23,000 were cross-border passenger trips in January of 2024.
In order to meet the surging demand for cross-border train tickets, the railway operator in Kunming has lifted daily passenger limit. Since China-Laos Railway's cross-border passenger service first opened on April 13, 2023, the railway has facilitated a total 130,000 cross-border travelers from 83 countries and regions.
The China-Laos Railway, now running for over two years, has further integrated regional logistics, capital flow, and personnel communication between the two countries.
There were only about 10 types of cross-border cargos being transported when the railway first began operation. Currently, that figure has surpassed 2,900 categories, from electronics and photovoltaics to cold-chain fruits, boosting economic development along the railway.