BANGKOK: Export and import companies in the region will have another mode of transport option when the tri-country ASEAN Express freight train between Malaysia, Thailand and Laos starts commercial operations in October.
The ASEAN Express service is the result of a strategic collaboration between Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) and Thai train operators, the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) and Laos Railways which will benefit their respective logistics and transport sectors.
“KTMB has received an initial order to use the ASEAN Express train service for shipping maritime containers and this service will generate an additional income of RM9 million per year for KTMB,” said KTMB in a statement.
KTMB said the ASEAN Express cargo train service with a more competitive cost will be the main choice of importers of electrical and electronic goods.
The 2,206km ASEAN Express journey from Malaysia to Laos will take 72 hours.
On Monday, the ASEAN Express went through a dry run flag off ceremony at Bang Sue Grand Station in Bangkok.
The ceremony was officiated by KTMB chief executive officer Mohd Rani Hisham Samsudin and SRT Governor Nirut Maneepan. Also present were the Secretary General of the Malaysian Ministry of Transport Datuk Isham Ishak and the Malaysian Ambassador to Thailand Datuk Jojie Samuel.
KTMB said the strategic cooperation of the cargo train service is a recognition for Malaysia when the national railway companies of Thailand and Laos gave full cooperation to make this service a success.
ASEAN Express will offer a one-way cargo capacity of 80 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent unit) per week.
From Thanaleng in Laos, the cargo carried will connect with several provinces in southern China such as Kunming, Chengdu and Chongqing via the capital of Laos, Vientiane.
Meanwhile, SRT said the cargo train trial service from Padang Besar in Malaysia to Nong Khai (Thailand) and Thanaleng (Laos) will intensify border trade in addition to connecting the rail services of the three countries. – BERNAMA