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Thailand’s land bridge plan still floating 




Deputy government spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul says the government is still mulling the idea of a land bridge between the southern provinces of Ranong and Chumphon. The project’s aim would be to improve the infrastructure in the region by connecting the Gulf of Thailand directly with the Andaman Sea, “thereby making the Kingdom more competitive”. In a report in the Bangkok Post, she says the idea would be to better connect Middle Eastern and European oil producers with importers and manufacturers in Japan, South Korea and China.

Currently shipping from the two parts of the world needs to detour down the Mallacca Straits and swing around Singapore before continuing their journeys northward again. The land bridge would provide a more direct route but needs infrastructure for cargo to pass across the Malay Peninsula, aka. the Isthmus of Kra.

“Prime Minister Prayut gave us the guideline that we must be prudent and look at financial feasibility, cost-effectiveness, environmental impact and public acceptance. This land bridge project is a strategy to link the Middle East and East Asia via Thailand.”

It’s understood a feasibility study being carried out by the Ministry of Transport will take around a year to complete, followed by 2 more years to get all the necessary approvals and processes lined up prior to construction beginning. The land bridge would consist of a 130 kilometre motorway and a 2-track railway between the provinces of Chumphon and Ranong. These would connect deep-sea ports in both the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea, reducing travel time by 2 days.

The government is looking at development that can connect the Southern Economic Corridor region, which includes Chumphon, Ranong, Surat Thani, and Nakhon Si Thammarat, with the Eastern Economic Corridor of Chon Buri and Rayong.

The latest plans replace the much-discussed about Kra Canal project, which would have seen a canal crossing the country just south of Phuket and Krabi, creating a shorter journey time from the South China Sea to the Indian Ocean. After being discussed for decades, the project has currently been shelved “on environmental grounds”.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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  1. Fabian

    Monday, October 12, 2020 at 12:05 pm

    “the idea would be to better connect Middle Eastern and European oil producers with importers and manufacturers in Japan, South Korea and China.”

    We are close to a tipping point where supply of oil is structurally getting higher than demand, according to OPEC. This might be in ten years (shortly after the land bridge will be finished). One important reason is that renewable energy is getting more and more cheap and efficient. Big companies like Shell understand this and start to make a transition to a business model based on renewable energy.

    Instead of building a land bridge, it would be better if Thailand invested in renewable energy. There is so much sun light here, that solar panels will be earned back in a few years. That allows Thailand to have very cheap (and clean) energy within a few years, making the country economically more competitive. Which is the whole intent of the to be built land bridge.

    • Luca

      Monday, October 12, 2020 at 12:17 pm

      Agree. And there are modern and cheaper ways of producing solar power by using lakes and lagoons instead of land or by using agrovoltaics whereby crops can be grown under solar panels for better and controlled production of vegetables.

  2. Issan John

    Monday, October 12, 2020 at 1:02 pm

    Unlikely Thailand will be paying …..

    • Anthony Peters

      Monday, October 12, 2020 at 3:27 pm

      But would be in debt for decades!
      It’s a pipe dream, will never happen.

  3. Bob Ume

    Monday, October 12, 2020 at 2:26 pm

    Why not focus the future on education and the English language for the Thai people, then you will have a brighter future for sure, don’t relay on China they will either concur you or ignore you.

    Oil will be in the passed in 25 years, focus on what you have a lot of here, sunshine and solar energy.

    • Robert Elliot

      Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 7:59 pm

      Oil will never pass it will supply the majority of the worlds energy for a very long time. Energy from the wind and sun cannot replace energy from fossil fuels.

  4. David James

    Monday, October 12, 2020 at 4:34 pm

    Simple suggestion from a quick look at the map why not build a large shipping canal across the tinnest point of southern Thailand to link the Sea and Gulf? Aka Panama canal style solution

    • The Thaiger & The Nation

      Monday, October 12, 2020 at 5:50 pm

      That would be the Kra Canal proposal of which we have written countless stories over the years

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