Thai durian producers urge rail link with China to tap soaring demand

MONDAY, JULY 19, 2021

The Thai Durian Association has urged the government to ease the bottleneck that’s strangling durian exports by linking Thailand’s rail network with the Laos-China railway.

Set for completion in 2024, the Laos-China railway offers a potential route for durian shipments to China, where demand for the Thai fruit is soaring.

However, association chairman Phanusak Saiphanich said there is currently no connection between the Thai rail network and the Laos-China link. He urged the government to reach an agreement with Laos on linking the rail routes.

Thailand currently ships durians to China via sea and road. Transportation by ship takes longer and places the products at more risk of spoilage. However, ships are a cheaper transportation method than trucks.

Despite churning out huge quantities, Thai durian producers are still struggling to meet growing demand for the fruit in China, said the association.

“They [Chinese] consume an average 2 kilos of durian per person per year and the market still has room to expand, but there is a problem with distribution,” Phanusak said.