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Thai government looks to revive Pak Bara and Songkhla deep-sea port projects

Tanutam Thawan

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The government is looking at reviving deep sea-port projects in the south of Thailand. They were shelved two years ago as the government bowed to public opposition at the time.

The Transport Ministry is considering reviving the Pak Bara, Satun, and Songkhla deep-sea port projects. Both projects are in the south of the country. The projects have been shelved at this stage due to strong protests by locals and environment groups.

Thai PBS World reports the the Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob has asked the Marine Department to dust off the files on the two infrastructure projects. He has asked that they begin by approaching local communities living around the two deep sea port zones to convince them of the value of the development, the benefits for their localities and the country as a whole.

Feasibility studies have already been completed but additional environment impact assessments may be required to convince opponents of the projects. They will also be necessary to get approval from Cabinet.

Speaking about the 12 billion baht Pak Bara deep-sea port project, Mr. Saksayam says project design and feasibility studies were completed in 2017.

“The project was in the process of gathering opinions from all stakeholders when resistance from local people and non-governmental organisations emerged, forcing the suspension of public hearings.”

According to the Marine Department, the land bridge linking Songkhla deep-sea port with the Pak Nara deep-sea port in Satun, and southward to Penang in Malaysia, will reduce the distance of travel and save transport costs for cargo from the Indian to the Pacific Oceans, as opposed to travelling through the Malacca Straits.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

 

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