Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Railroad network to boost Sino-ASEAN economic ties

Railroad network to boost Sino-ASEAN economic ties

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The first international freight train from the Yangtze River Delta region to ASEAN gets ready for its departure from Haian, Jiangsu province, to Vietnam in May this year. China Daily

Railroad network to boost Sino-ASEAN economic ties

With ASEAN increasingly becoming China’s key trading partner and construction of the China-Laos railway seeing notable progress this year, experts predicted that more freight train services will be operated between China and Southeast Asian economies over the next decade.

They made the remarks after Nantong, Jiangsu province, launched the first international freight train travelling from the Yangtze River Delta region to ASEAN carrying more than 70 containers of industrial goods, garments and photovoltaic products manufactured by companies in East China to Hanoi, Vietnam, in late May.

It took about 120 hours for the train to complete the 2,300km long journey.

After arriving at Hanoi, the train returned to China carrying Vietnamese goods, including agricultural and electronic products. The service has brought considerable benefits to customers in the region as it has cut the transport period from 10 days by sea to about five days.

After this trial operation, the cargo train’s operator – China Railway Shanghai Group Co Ltd – plans to run the trains between four and six times a month to better connect the Yangtze River Delta region and ASEAN markets in the second half.

Covid-19 has not only boosted the vitality of the China-Europe freight train service, but also stimulated both trade and railroad transportation volume between China and ASEAN so far this year, said Chen Yumou, deputy head of China Railway Shanghai Group’s Nanjing branch.

Because the cost of transporting rail freight is nearly half that of overland road transport and as market demand remains robust on both sides, cargo trains between China and ASEAN members – in particular Vietnam, Laos and Thailand – will gain momentum this year, said Xu Liping, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing.

With the China-Thailand railway project progressing smoothly, Thailand will enjoy more economic benefits once the high-speed railway connects the country’s capital Bangkok with China and other countries in the future, said Zhang Yongjun, a researcher at the Beijing-based China Centre for International Economic Exchanges.

It will help attract more foreign tourists and help narrow the regional economic disparity of Thailand, Zhang said.

According to the project plan released by China State Railway Group Co Ltd – the country’s railway operator – the China-Thailand railway will eventually connect with the China-Laos railway. It will make the railroad network more accessible between China and ASEAN.

Backed by price advantages, reliable product quality and efficient service, China’s train manufacturers and railway project contractors have enhanced their presence in overseas markets after the country completed construction of a high-speed railway in Turkey in 2014, said Sun Zhang, a professor at the Transportation Research Institute of Shanghai-based Tongji University.

The China-Laos Railway, the China-Thailand Railway and a high-speed line linking Jakarta and Bandung in Indonesia, have all adopted Chinese rail standards and technologies, he said, adding that the projects will spur economic growth along the rail routes.

Laos-China Railway Co Ltd, a joint venture based in the Laotian capital of Vientiane, handles the construction and operation of the railway, and the company announced last month that supportive construction of two cross-Mekong River bridges has been completed.

The China-Laos Railway crosses the Mekong River twice to the north of Luang Prabang, about 230km north of Vientiane.

China-ASEAN Business Council executive president Xu Ningning said: “The China-Laos Railway is a strategic project part of both the Belt and Road Initiative and Laos’ national strategy to transform from a landlocked country to a land-linked hub.”

The over 400km railway, with 198km of tunnels and 62km of bridges, will run from the Boten border crossing in northern Laos, bordering China, to Vientiane with an average operating speed of 160km/h.

In addition to operating direct freight trains to ASEAN economies bordering China, Chinese inland cities such as Chongqing launched non-scheduled cargo trains to better serve transportation needs along the land-sea trade corridor last year.

The train stops at Qinzhou port, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Cargo such as auto parts and machinery equipment manufactured in Chengdu and Chongqing are then shipped to Ho Chi Minh City and Haiphong in Vietnam, and Jakarta, Indonesia, by sea routes.

CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • Cambodia purchases 4 million Molnupiravir tablets

    Cambodia has arranged for the purchase of four million US-made Molnupiravir pills – enough to treat 100,000 Covid-19 patients – even though the current rate of daily infections in Cambodia remains low. The medicine will be distributed to state hospitals, pharmacies and private clinics, according to the Samdech

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • Is Cambodia’s travel sector in for another cheerless holiday season?

    The travel and tourism sector was heaving back to life as borders started to reopen, promising a festive vibe for the holidays and New Year. But Omicron and other Covid-related issues are threatening to close the year on a bleak note ‘Seems [like] Covid-19 won’

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration