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Businesses laud new hours, push for similar extension on Thai side

(The Nation/ANN) -- In a bid to streamline trade operations and reduce logistical expenses, the Thai-Laos border checkpoint in Nong Khai has now started opening at midnight.
These new operating hours not only provide essential support for Thai exports to China but also result in a substantial reduction of costs.
Sakhone Philangam, managing director of Laos’ Thanaleng Dry Port, said extending the operating hours of the border checkpoint would alleviate daytime congestion at the Vientiane Logistics Park. It would also facilitate smoother transit for Thai exports from Laem Chabang to China, thereby slashing operational costs by half.
Situated just a kilometre from the Laos-Thailand Friendship Bridge in Vientiane, the dry port and logistics park serve as a key gateway for freight transit between China and Southeast Asia.
Sakhone said the land port adheres to international trade standards and serves as a modern logistics hub connecting ASEAN with the rest of the world.
Covering 382 hectares, the area also boasts an international railway station, a port, an international sorting centre and customs checkpoints, all interconnected to facilitate seamless connectivity.
The port currently accommodates up to 3,000 container trucks daily, exemplifying efficiency with 2-minute inspections per train through QR-code scanning.
Thai operators have voiced their appreciation for such efficiency, saying it has resulted in significant cost reductions, including lowering refrigeration costs.
They are also advocating the late-night opening of border checkpoints on the Thai side to further enhance efficiency and cut transportation costs.
Viengkhone Sitthixay, managing director of Sitthi Logistics Lao Co Ltd, stressed the urgency for Thailand to open the Nong Khai checkpoint at night.
He said the services can be divided, with passenger transport being accommodated during the day time, and cargo from 6pm to 5am.
This approach would alleviate bottlenecks on the Friendship Bridge, ensuring increased transportation capacity for 400 to 500 containers.
Beyond immediate benefits, Laos envisions becoming ASEAN’s cargo hub, enabling fast transportation of fresh produce from Laem Chabang in Thailand to Kunming in China within 20 hours, he said.
With electricity costs significantly lower in Laos, this would reduce freezing costs for Thai entrepreneurs and subsequently boost their profits, Viengkhone said.
“I support Thailand’s Land Bridge project and wish for mutual understanding and cooperation between Thailand and Laos to act as a bridge to ASEAN. Collaborative efforts will enhance our joint capabilities and help us utilise our resources effectively,” Viengkhone said.

(Latest Update November 21, 2023)

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