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China-Laos Railway key link, benefits both nations

By:China Daily   Update:2022-12-03
The high-profile China-Laos Railway handled millions of passengers as well as cargo during the first year of operation, benefiting people from both countries and showcasing how the landmark Belt and Road Initiative project has been improving people's lives and boosting the flow of goods.
Saturday marked the first anniversary of the cross-border railway's operation. The line has remained safe and its operation smooth as it handled 8.5 million passenger trips and 11.2 million metric tons of cargo, according to China Railway International, which manages the project.
The line has benefited passengers and reduced travel time significantly, and it has become one of the top choices for people to travel in China and Laos, the company said.
The 1,035-kilometer China-Laos Railway runs from Kunming in Southwest China's Yunnan province to Vientiane, capital of Laos. The trip takes about 10 hours, with speeds reaching up to 200 kilometers per hour.
Over the past year, the railway's China section has handled an average of 42 passenger trains daily and a total of 7.2 million passenger trips. On a peak day it would have 65 train services with 50,000 passenger trips. Service is provided in multiple languages and various types of tickets are offered. Eleven stations provide rail-air transport plans.
Yi Bofeng, a native of Xishuangbanna, Yunnan, went to college in Kunming.
The 24-year-old recalled the journey from home to school was "rough" and took her two days by bus.
The trip now takes about six hours by train and is much more comfortable, she said.
The line has also benefited people from Laos. The Lao section has on average six train services on each day and handled a total of 1.3 million passenger trips. The section operated 10 services on a peak day and handles nearly 8,200 passenger trips.
More services are offered to benefit travel in Laos, including opening passenger services in three more stations, offering regular-and high-speed train services, and setting up ticket offices in major Laotian cities.
Phetsamone, a 52-year-old Laotian businessman, runs a cross-border trade business — he buys mobile phone and automobile parts in Kunming and sells them in Vientiane.
"Truck transport was expensive and took a long time to Vientiane," he said, adding that he now uses the railway to transport freight, which saves time and money.
It is easier for him to travel in Laos as well. It used to take about two days from Mohan, a border city with China, to Vientiane, but it's now only about an hour, he said.
Phetsamone's business may extend to more ASEAN countries as the railway has also established an international logistics channel between China and Laos, as well as more ASEAN countries, reducing transport time and costs.
Over the year, the line has transported cross-border cargo with a total volume of more than 1.9 million tons.

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