Cambodia received on Monday the first batch of used rails, concrete sleepers and fastenings from Thailand for strengthening railways and improving the quality of goods transportation between the two countries.
Public Works Ministry secretary of state Ly Borin presided over the handover ceremony of the first batch of used rails with Thai representatives in the Poipet city on the border with Thailand.
The railway equipment was loaded in trains transporting the supplies from Thailand into Cambodia.
Borin said on Tuesday that more batches will be sent in the future.
“The handover was previously set to be made last year but due to the Covid-19 pandemic and flood disasters the shipment was delayed,” said Borin.
Thailand made a promise to send the 140-kilometres of used rails to Cambodia once the two countries officially connected the rail tracks at the border in 2018.
The used rails will be used for repairing and upgrading the northern railway in the Kingdom, Borin said.
“The used rails will be used to upgrade the train tracks on the northern line, which is currently capable of supporting 15 to 20 tonnes,” he said.
The upgrade will increase the speed from 30-kilometres-per-hour to 70km/h.
Cambodia has two rail lines. In addition to the northern line connecting Phnom Penh to Poipet, the southern line links the capital to the coast at Preah Sihanouk province’s Sihanoukville port.
The government granted Royal Railways, a subsidiary of the conglomerate Royal Group, the concession for management under a railway development investment scheme.
Bilateral trade between Cambodia and Thailand was valued at $7.236 billion last year, a decrease of 23% from the year before.
Rail transportation of goods between the two countries is made through the border at Poipet International Border Checkpoint.
Public Works Minister Sun Chanthol said in August that transportation via rail will be economical and reduce goods transported on main roads, which will contribute to reducing traffic accidents.
“The volume of rail freight has increased significantly in recent years and I wish to see rail freight in Cambodia expand and contribute to reducing road damage,” he said.