EU and Laos to boost cooperation on freight transport

GIZ’s Sustainable Freight Transport and Logistics in the Mekong Region project organised a national seminar titled “Green Freight: Enhancing Transport and Logistics Business Performance in Lao PDR” on 11 July 2018 in Vientiane, Lao PDR.
 
The seminar saw the official signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Ministry of Public Works and Transport and GIZ, and included a presentation of the project background and the introduction of upcoming training activities, as well as the sharing of knowledge and experience on improving the freight transport business. Dr. Bounta Onnavong, the Director General, Department of Transport, Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MPWT) and Mr. Koen Everaert, of the European Union (EU) delegation to Lao PDR presided over the event.
 
Mr. Koen Everaert, of the European Union (EU) delegation to Lao PDR said: “The freight transport and logistics industry is one of the most important sectors for economic development worldwide. Transport is a cornerstone of the European integration process and is firmly linked to the creation and completion of the market, which promotes jobs and economic growth. In Lao PDR, the average age of trucks is around 15 years, leading to low fuel efficiency and high maintenance costs. Driver training is not extensive and this, combined with poor road conditions, has led to generally inefficient driving practices. Against this background, the efficiency, environmental performance and safety of dangerous goods transport have become important to ensure countries continue to grow, increase welfare conditions, maintain their economic competitiveness, and reduce environmental and social impacts. GIZ’s project on Sustainable Freight Transport and Logistics in the Mekong Region, which is financially supported by the European Union (EU), supports the Lao PDR to improve sustainable freight transport and the logistics sector.”
 
The Eco and Defensive Driving training, which is being implemented in collaboration with SCG Skills Development Co., Ltd. Thailand, will be designed to increase the competence of local trainers in Lao PDR and will be adapted to the Laos driving context. During the seminar, Mr. Nont Bhuprassanon, the supervisor of Education and Training, SCG Skills Development Co., Ltd. Thailand gave a presentation on the training course, saying: “Thailand has been considered as a logistics hub due to its connection to several major roadways reaching several countries in ASEAN. This will be achieved through efficient logistics management that results in a minimal impact on the environment as well as cutting down fuel consumption. Our SCG Skills Development School provides “Eco-Driving module” to the drivers. Firstly, we provide the Multimodal Transportation Management allowing goods to be transported via land, sea, and rail transportation modes. As a result, the goods are delivered in the most efficient manner with the lowest energy consumption. Secondly, we place emphasis on the application of Deadhead Reduction (reducing travelling with empty load) by focusing on Backhauling Management. Thirdly, we regularly implement a Consolidation Management System to consolidate multiple shipments into a single trip by using large trucks to deliver goods to distribution centres, then having smaller trucks deliver the goods to their final destinations. Lastly, we have idle time management. For example, Geographical Positioning System (GPS) is used for tracking fleet status and ensuring that the deliveries will reach their destinations on time.”
 
The participants of the seminar also learned about the options to improve efficiency in freight transport and the logistics business and expect to attend the training to develop their skills, leading to development of freight transport in Lao PDR.
 
Further discussions on the plans and next steps followed on from the presentation of the training. Dr. Bounta Onnavong, the Director General, Department of Transport, Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MPWT) said: “Road safety is what we are concerned about. Currently, we are working on the strategies for security. We will cooperate with GIZ and relevant organisations to improve freight transport operations and capacity in Vientiane by improving road safety management, vehicle registration and regulations as well as supporting the training. Vientiane’s growth is so recent that it’s still manageable. Enforcement of existing and more formal adapted rules will also require changes in drivers’ attitudes. Under the plan, fuel consumption reduction and road safety will be monitored by the project. It is a new concept but if it proves to bring safety, a better system, and cost reduction, then people will be happy later.”

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