Passenger and Cargo Surges on CLR in Six Months Since Opening

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 Passenger and Cargo Surges on CLR in Six Months Since Opening
  3.27 Million Passengers and 4.03 Million Tons of Cargo Transported in Total 

     China-Laos Railway now reaches its first six months operation milestone. As of June 2, China-Laos Railway already manifested a positive momentum of increasing volume and quality in passenger and freight transport as an effective international logistics golden corridor. Specifically, for passenger transport, 3.27 million passengers have been transported cumulatively, including 2.86 million in the section of China and 410 thousand in the section of Laos; for freight transport, 4.03 million tons of goods have been delivered, including 647 thousand tons across the border.

     Since the opening-to-traffic of China-Laos Railway on December 3, 2021, China Railway International Co., Ltd. and CR Kunming both subordinate to CR, together with Laos-China Railway Co., Ltd., endeavors to effectively maintain and operate CLR, by comprehensively increasing the quality and efficiency of passenger and freight transport to serve the people of the two countries with convenient travel services and build a safe and efficient international logistics golden corridor with international connectivity sooner. CLR vigorously promotes the economic and social development along the route, and boosts regional connectivity, the stabilized and upgraded foreign trade between China and ASEAN countries, and the construction of China-Laos Economic Corridor.

     Targeted quality service fulfils the travel demands of passengers. Under the requirements of epidemic control and passenger transport organization, the railway company properly allocates the transport capacity based on the analysis of passengers’ travel demands, and provides various travel products for passengers, thus greatly fulfilling the travel demands of the people along the line, such as study, family visit, medical treatment, tourism, and business. For the section of China, the precise adjustment of train working diagrams every day enables the operation of additional EMU trains accordingly. According to statistics, an average of 43.2 passenger trains are operated per day and up to 65 trains during peak time, with a maximum daily passenger flow of more than 33,000 people. As 4 passenger stations - Mueang Kasi, Muang Nga, Namor and Nateuy – add to the Laos section, there are now 10 stations along the line that offers passenger transport service. With the purchase of a Lancang EMU and a conventional passenger train, the line now operates both types of trains, providing more choices for passengers. The number of trains operated daily averages at 6 and tops at 8, translating into a daily ridership of 5,000 person-time at the highest. At the same time, the extended pre-sale period and the mushroom of ticket offices in big cities all encourage the Lao people to travel by train. With more stations and trains available, there is a significant surge in the number of passengers traveling to Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang and other tourist cities on the tracks, injecting new momentum to the tourist economy along the line.

     The building of the international corridor improves the quality of foreign trade and keeps logistic flow stable. China-Laos Railway serves as a convenient international logistics corridor between China and ASEAN countries, cutting both the transport time and costs. And the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) this January brings about flourishing demands for international logistics between China and Laos. With Vientiane South, Nateuy, Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang, Phon Hong and other stations open to freight transport service, new modes of transport are being explored, namely “Lancang-Mekong Express + Cross-border E-commerce”, China-Laos Railway + CRE Train, China-Laos Railway + Train for New Land-Sea Corridor in the West. The move is to enhance the sphere of influence and the cross-border freight transport capacity of China-Laos Railway, extending the opportunities and dividends brought by to more enterprises and stakeholders concerned. Amid the six months of operation, 4.03 million tons of goods have delivered cumulatively, including 647 thousand tons for cross-border transport. As 21 Chinese cities and provinces now get access to the China-Laos Railway, the goods transported have increased in its types, from just fertilizer and everyday commodities to electronics, photovoltaic, fresh fruits and many more. Over 100 types of freight reach over 10 countries and regions, including Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Malaysia, Cambodia and Singapore.

     Strengthened operation and maintenance management ensures safe and smooth transport. Railway departments of both two countries have carried out railway infrastructure maintenance in both Chinese and Lao sections to ensure that all the facilities are kept in good condition. Faced with the first flood season that the China-Laos Railway will ever go through, track patrol and safety hazard elimination have been intensified by adopting advanced approaches such as satellite imagery, UAVs, and so on, with rules being strictly implemented to keep railway operation safety during this period. Exchanges have been enhanced with customs, border checkpoints, local port authorities, and other related bodies, with a mechanism of carrying out discussion on a regular basis and joint action being established and consolidated. With the support of customs, the customs inspection procedure has been optimized and the “quick customs clearance” mode promoted, under which trains are inspected only by the customs at the domestic railway yards, with no need to stop at port for customs transfer (before crossing the border in outbound trips and after crossing the border in inbound trips), greatly improving the customs clearance efficiency at ports. Greater measures have been taken to further reduce the cost along the whole journey, such as reducing/canceling the railway container deposits, rentals, and container detention charges, establishing additional container return depots abroad, and so on. In strict accordance with the principle of “guarding against imported cases”, epidemic prevention and control measures at ports have been enhanced, with integrated preventive methods regarding “people, items, equipment, and environment” strictly adopted to prevent transmitting virus via railway.

     Going forward, the railway department will, based on the lessons learned from the China-Laos Railway’s operation in the past 6 months since its opening to traffic, promote the research and development of the Internet ticketing system and the digitalization of the transport system, accelerate the construction of the Vientiane South Freight Transshipment Station, continue to take strict epidemic prevention and control measures at stations and onboard, ramp up efforts to improve the passenger and freight transport quality of China-Laos Railway, thus making contributions to the high-quality cooperation under Belt and Road and the well-being of people in both China and Laos.

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