The rail service between China and Laos is the first to be introduced by an international forwarder and the first of its kind in the market, shortening transit time between Kunming and Vientiane from two days via road to about 20 to 24 hours
DHL’s scheduled service runs in both directions between China and ASEAN markets, providing a cost efficient alternative in a time when logistics costs are at an all-time high
The new rail service will transform Laos from a land-locked country to a land-linked hub, creating closer trade linkages between Laos and China, and to all economies in the Belt and Road Initiative
DHL Global Forwarding has launched a two-way rail freight service between Kunming, China and Vientiane, Laos via the newly opened China-Laos Railway.
The rail service between Kunming and Vientiane is the first to be introduced by an international forwarder and the first of its kind in the market. It is seen to shorten transit time between the two areas from two days via road to about 20 to 24 hours, Deutsche Post DHL Group said in a release early this month.
“The China-Laos Railway is a historic moment for the region. It strategically places Kunming as a hub for the Indochina market as the gateway to ASEAN economies,” said Steve Huang, CEO of DHL Global Forwarding Greater China.
Thomas Tieber, CEO of DHL Global Forwarding Southeast Asia, said: “China is ASEAN’s largest trading partner, growing close to 40% year on year. The new rail service connecting China and Laos will transform Laos from a land-locked country to a land-linked hub, creating closer trade linkages between Laos and China, and to all economies in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), including ASEAN.”
He added that businesses moving goods between China and ASEAN countries “now have a strong viable alternative between air and ocean freight, and can tap further into DHL’s robust road freight and multimodal network in the Southeast Asia region.”
Leveraging the new railway, DHL’s scheduled service runs in both directions between China and ASEAN markets, including Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, providing a cost-efficient alternative in a time when logistics costs are at an all-time high.
The two-way service combines trucking from all over China to the hub in Kunming, running through the China-Laos railroad, then onward with DHL’s established road network service and back, with significant cost savings and competitive transit times.
For example, from Chengdu to Bangkok, road/rail services are 78% cheaper and two days faster than airfreight. From Kuala Lumpur to Chengdu, road/rail services are 70% cheaper with the same transit time compared to airfreight. And from Shanghai to Singapore, road/rail services are 38% cheaper, and four days longer compared to airfreight.
The new China-Laos Railway is one of the six international economic corridors under China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The Laos section of the railway is 414 kilometers (km) and connects Kunming (China) to Boten, Laos’ northern border with China, to Vientiane in the south, on its border with Thailand.
The route will cut the journey time from Vientiane to the Chinese border to less than four hours, compared to 15 hours by road. In Boten, the railway will connect with the BRI network in Kunming through another 595-km railway link, providing Laos with a land link to global and regional supply chains.
Photo courtesy of DHL