The Lao government and Thakhek Dry Port Co Ltd (“TDPCL”) have signed a 30-year concession agreement on the Thakhek Dry Port (“TDP”) project.

The agreement was signed by Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Khamchanh Vongseneboun and TDPCL CEO Phutphornxai Luanglath on January 28.

The signing ceremony was witnessed by the Khammuan provincial governor, Deputy Minister of Finance, Deputy Minister of Public Works and Transport, the management of relevant departments, Lao Logistics State Enterprise, and participants from the public and private sectors.

The TDP project, located next to the 3rd Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge in Khammuan province, is valued at $15.7 million.

TDPCL was established on June 10, 2021. The Lao government, through the Lao Logistics State Enterprise, holds a 30 per cent share in the venture and the private sector – on behalf of the three companies by Greater Mekong Logistics Co Ltd – holds a 70 per cent share.

TDPCL aims to develop the TDP as a gateway for international goods and enable Laos to become a regional and international logistics service centre through the Khammuan border crossing.

The development of the port is part of the government’s strategic plan on “Freight Transport and Logistics Development in the Lao PDR”.

This highlights the importance of and the need to develop ports in Laos, and is also in line with the country’s policy to move from being “landlocked” to “land-linked” or “transit services” to enhance the transport and logistics potential of Laos.

The TDP will serve as a hub for gathering and distributing modern and integrated logistics products and services, and will contribute to the reduction of illegal transshipment and logistics costs. This will enable Lao business ventures to compete within the global market, and fully meet the needs of customers.

Thakhek district in Khammuan province is suitable because of its geographic location and in terms of the volume of international traffic, which is increasing significantly.

Thakhek district is located along the strategic four-directions linked road, with easy access to highway No 12 connecting Phnom Penh and Thailand to Jaloe in Vietnam, which is the shortest route from Laos to Vietnam and lies on highway No 13, which is the main arterial road in Laos.

The district has the potential for service-transit and is close to neighbouring countries, making it possible to import goods through the service and accommodate goods from neighbouring provinces such as Borikhamxay and Savannakhet for exporting and importing goods from Thailand, and exporting them to Vietnam for onward shipment to China.

This has the potential to turn the TDP into a regional land transport hub.

“Dry Port” refers to a logistics site located inland that is a centre for loading and unloading goods and can receive, store, distribute, open and store goods in containers in line with the terms of international agreements.

It is also an international border checkpoint for the transport of goods in-out and transiting the country.