This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). As a model project of China-Lao cooperation under the BRI, the 1,035-kilometer-long Laos-China Railway connects Kunming of China in the north and Vientiane of Laos in the south. It has facilitated connectivity and people-to-people bonds between the two countries.
Since its opening two years ago, the railway has transported 24.2 million passengers and 29.1 million tons of goods, contributing to the economies of 12 countries participating in the BRI.
Noy Soutthida Leesakun from Laos' Luang Prabang Province told GDToday that she had to bring her mother to Vientiane City for monthly regular check-ups. Previously, they had to travel by road, usually departing at night and arriving the following day. Sometimes they had to sleep along the way and bring their meals with them. Now, it only takes an hour by train from Luang Prabang Province to Vientiane.
Chen Xiang, the chief supervisor of Latsavong Development Co., LTD, a railway constructor from 2016 to 2019, is currently working with his team in developing Latsavong Plaza. The office and 5-star hotel in the plaza are set to complete construction by the end of this year and will start to operate on January 1, 2024.They are designed to accommodate leaders from ASEAN countries participating in the 2024 ASEAN Summit hosted by Laos.
"Most of our construction materials are imported from Guangdong, and a series of pairing materials, most of which are transported from the Laos-China Railway," Chen told GDToday, emphasizing that the railway has helped a lot by significantly reducing construction costs, improving transportation and logistics efficiency, and ensuring the smooth progress of the project.
In 2021, Guangdong launched the first international freight train to Laos. Multiple freight stations in Guangdong, including Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Jiangmen, have gradually formed a regional logistics center for cross-border freight trains in South China. This year, a two-way railway logistics channel between the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the ASEAN region was forged with the arrival of durian from Thailand via the Laos-China railway.
According to Du Zhigang, Director of Operations of Laos-China Railway Company Limited (LCRC), the main goods transported from Guangdong to Laos include cloths, display devices, rice cookers, and ceramic tiles. Meanwhile, fruits produced in Thailand are the primary goods transported from Laos to Guangdong.
In this episode, GDToday reporters, in collaboration with Laos National Television (LNTV), followed the Guangdong-initiated China-Laos freight train into Laos to document how the Laos-China Railway enhances the livelihoods of ordinary Laotians, boosts related industries along the route, and accelerates the country's economic growth, transforming Laos from a "landlocked country" to a "land-linked hub."
About the Guangdong on the Road series
As 2023 marks the 10th anniversary of the BRI, GDToday, the leading Guangdong-based multilingual news provider, has recently joined hands with major media outlets in 10 countries and visited the United Arab Emirates, Laos, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Nigeria, South Africa, Greece, Fiji, and Vanuatu, reporting on the Guangdong on the Road series.
The series report will include multilingual videos and articles, documenting the cooperation between Guangdong, the economic powerhouse of China, and the BRI participating countries.
Producer | Hou Xiaojun
Executive producers | Jin Qiang, Zhang Chunqing
Chief planner | Zhao Yang
Planners | Xie Miaofeng, Zhang Ying, Ouyang Yan
Reporters | Hu Nan, Xu Xiaoxin, Zhang Tianxiong
Graphic designers | Ou Xiaoming, Huo Weilu
Editors | Olivia, James
Parts of the video footage were contributed by the Laos-China Railway Company Limited (LCRC), Laos National Television, China Railway Guangzhou Group Co., Ltd., Guangzhou Customs District of P.R.China., and Latsavong Development Co., LTD.
The Canton Chamber of Commerce in Laos, Gree Electronics, Khemphone Cooling System Co., LTD, Wang Fengping, Deng Yingheng, Qin Shaolong, Li Qiaoxin, He Yixing and Liu Yi contributed to the story.