Laos-China Railway Company is set to receive a new electric multiple-unit (EMU) train today, enhancing passenger travel both domestically and internationally. The move is seen as a strategic preparation for Laos’ Chairmanship of ASEAN and Visit Laos Year 2024, according to Mr. Anongdeth Phetkayson, Deputy Director of Laos-China Railway Co., Ltd.
The new EMU train boasts modern features such as wireless charging and touch-sensitive seat adjustment systems. Currently, the Laos-China Railway operates a total of five passenger trains daily, including four EMUs and one regular train.
Since its inauguration on December 3, 2021, the Laos-China Railway service has carried over 3.1 million passengers, averaging 4,889 passengers per day and reaching a peak of 10,197 passengers daily. In 2023, passenger numbers have surged, with over 1.75 million passengers traveling on the railway, marking a remarkable 103.7 percent increase compared to the same period in 2022.
Furthermore, cross-border train operations, initiated on April 13, 2023, have seen 61,698 passengers crossing the border, with an average of 201 people traveling outside the country and 190 people traveling to Laos daily.
Apart from passenger travel, the railway has played a pivotal role in trade, facilitating the transportation of over 5.38 million tons of goods since its inception, averaging 8,229 tons daily, with a peak of 15,250 tons per day. Key traded items include fruits, cassava flour, barley, rubber, beer, iron ore, concentrated iron ore, and chemical fertilizers, with 770,900 tons imported from China to Laos and 4.56 million tons exported from Laos to China.
In response to significant exchange rate fluctuations and the depreciation of the Laotian Kip (LAK), the Laos-China Railway Company has proposed a ticket price increase to the Lao government to cope with the surge in passenger travel.