Connect with us

Transport

Ships want a shortcut: Studies to start on Thai canal and land bridge

Published

 on 

Strait of Malacca

Thailand could actually sliced in half by a canal right across the Malay Peninsula, linking the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. Proposals have been in the works for hundreds of years, but now the idea is popping up again, and alternatives, as shipping companies try and find ways to cut their costs.

The Thai government plans to hold public hearings and start feasibility studies on the Thai Canal, also known as the 9A canal route. A land bridge has also being discussed as another shipping route shortcut, linking new seaports at both ends of the land bridge.

10 million baht has been set aside in the fiscal 2021 budget for hearings and studies on the canal project as well as a double track railway link between Chumphon (on the Gulf of Thailand) and Ranong (on the Andaman Sea), according to National Economic and Social Development Council secretary general Thosaporn Sirisamphand. He says the hearings will begin in October, the start of the 2021 fiscal year.

The Thai Canal is part of the Kra Canal project, which has been talked about for centuries. A canal would go through the skinniest point in the southern peninsula to allow ships to cut through Thailand rather than sailing all the way around Singapore island at the bottom of the peninsula, and squeezing through the busy (and sometimes dangerous) Strait of Malacca. The proposed canal would cut out about 1,200 kilometres off the shipping journey. A possible cost for the shortcut is about 28 billion baht.

The Kra or ‘Thai’ canal would work in exactly the same was as the Panama Canal, linking two bodies of water and providing an economic shortcut for ships.

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha had also ordered the National Economic and Social Development Board and the Office of the National Security Council to look into the project back in 2018. Government officials under former PM Thaksin Shinawatra also set up a committee to conduct a feasibility study on the canal project, but the plan was scrapped in 2006 when the administration was overthrown in a military coup.

The Thai Canal Association has pushed for the project over the past few years. Many members of the association are retired generals, politicians and prominent executives with Chinese ties.

A 100 kilometre land bridge is also being studied. It would link seaports at the Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Sea by highway and railway. Earlier this week, Prayut ordered for a new feasibility study on the land bridge proposal. But some critics say the land bridge proposal is unfeasible due to the increased handling costs which would override any economic or time savings of the shortcut.

There has been plenty of controversy around the land bridge idea. Port & Free Zone Global Expert, Tony Restall (aka Mr. Free Zone), called the proposal a “joke” and “beyond logical thinking.” Tony says there would be a number of extra handling costs and there would be no valid gain.

“To save what? 1-2 days sailing time around Singapore and through the Malacca Straits? Not only is it a completely ill-conceived idea, the numbers will never stack up and the vessel operators would never even consider it viable.”

Ships want a shortcut: Studies to start on Thai canal and land bridge | News by Thaiger

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Press Room12 hours ago

Best island boat tours from Phuket – must-visit islands and unforgettable experiences you should not miss out on

Thailand13 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Foreigners anger Chiang Mai locals for kissing in temple

World13 hours ago

Former Coventry footballer seriously ill in Thai hospital

Crime13 hours ago

Weapons used by jealous Thai man to murder and chop up lover found

Guides13 hours ago

Foodie Zone: Should you try Keto diet? 2022

Chiang Mai13 hours ago

River in Chiang Mai overflows, floods spread

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand14 hours ago

3-year jail term for carrying crops, fruit & veg into Japan

Thailand14 hours ago

Bank repossesses the wrong house in central Thailand

Thailand14 hours ago

Innocent man jailed 7 months for 15.8 million baht theft demands justice

Weather15 hours ago

Thailand’s cold season expected to hit in late October

Thailand15 hours ago

ฺThai boxer blackmails 20 women into sending nude pics

World16 hours ago

South Korea gives North Korea a warning

Visa16 hours ago

Philippines offers attractive alternative to Thailand’s 10 year LTR visa

Phuket17 hours ago

Thousands join Chinese ceremony at Phuket Vegetarian Festival

Coronavirus (Covid-19)17 hours ago

Bang Sue’s Central Vaccination Centre officially closed

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending