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Thailand, Lao agreement to cut transport costs


September 6, 2008

Thailand, Lao agreement to cut transport costs
Thailand and neighbouring Laos signed a land transport agreement Friday, designed to facilitate land transportation, cut transportation costs and boosting tourism between the two countries, Thai government news agency TNA quoted a senior Thai Transport Ministry official as saying.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by Chairat Sa-nguansue, Thailand's acting director-general of the Land Transport Department, with Viengsavath Siphandone, director-general of the  Lao PDR Department of Public Works and Transport.

Chairat said the MoU would also help boost tourism on a new route between Luang Prabang in northern Laos with Thailand's northern provinces of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, in which private bus operators of the two countries will be encouraged to invest and operate.

The Thai government-owned Transport Co., Ltd. will be asked to operate on this route which is expected to start soon, he said.

In future, buses traveling between Laos and Nakhon Ratchasima, considered Thailand's gateway to the northeast, and the eastern seaboard's Pattaya resort, will be open as the two destinations are popular among Laotians, said Chairat.

At presently, 452 companies with some 10,700 trucks operate between the two countries daily, up sharply from only a few hundred operating only a year ago, and the MoU is expected to further boost goods transport, he said.

The two countries have an agreement which allows vehicles to cross the border by bearing a special license plate.

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