Bokeo bridge opening sees freight traffic increase

Goods transportation across the Mekong River at the fourth Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge across the Mekong River in Bokeo province has been busy since it has been open to traffic.

Since the bridge was officially opened on December 11 last year, a long line of goods trucks have crossed the bridge from the Lao side 6:00am in the early morning until 10:00 pm at night.

Over the period from December 12-27, bridge authorities counted that there were 1390 goods which passed from the Lao side across the bridge to Thailand.

“How much the traffic has increased we’re not sure yet. However the number of goods trucks has definitely increased a lot,” a staffer at the Lao-Thai International Border Checkpoint, Mr Khamphay Phongthachak told Vientiane Times on Friday.

The new bridge has also increased tourist traffic through Bokeo province, particularly from China and Thailand and boosted border trade between Laos and Thailand.

Before the bridge was built, all container goods had to be transported across the Mekong river on heavy barges, which significantly slowed the amount of time it took goods to pass from one side to the other.

Mr Khamphay said that after the bridge opening, almost all trucks drivers have changed their route from the ferry to use the bridge as it is faster, more convenient and vehicle fees at the bridge are cheaper.

The bridge is part of the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) North-South Economic Corridor International Bridge Project which links Kunming, China to Bangkok, Thailand via the R3 route in Laos.