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Thailand planning land and rail passageway, bypassing congested Strait of Malacca



PHOTO: Shutterstock / The Jakarta Post

Thailand hopes to shorten shipping time by bypassing the busy Strait of Malacca with a 100 kilometre highway and railway passageway. Discussions are underway to construct 2 deep seaports on both sides of the country’s southern coast, which would be linked via rail and highway.

The latest proposal replaces the Kra Canal plan, which was talked about for decades. That plan would have seen a canal crossing the skinniest point of the country, through the Isthmus of Kra just south of Phuket and Krabi, chopping around 1,200 kilometres off the shipping journey. However, it has now been dropped on environmental grounds.

The new project is expected to reduce shipping time by 2 days by bypassing the Strait of Malacca, which runs along Peninsular Malaysia’s south-west coast, before curving east past Singapore. The passageway is notoriously congested, as well as being susceptible to piracy. According to a report in the South China Morning Post, incidents of piracy increased from 8 in 2018 to 30 last year.

Thailand planning land and rail passageway, bypassing congested Strait of Malacca | News by Thaiger

PHOTO: Encyclopedia of Earth

Currently, around a quarter of globally traded goods use the Strait of Malacca, with Thailand’s Transport Minister, Saksiam Chidchob, saying an alternative route is now a necessity.

“The Strait has become quite congested. Using an alternative route through Thailand would cut shipping time by more than 2 days, which is very valuable for businesses.”

The alternative route would see a 100 kilometre highway and rail passageway linking 2 seaports on either side of Thailand’s southern coast. It’s understood the government has set 75 million baht aside for a study into the building of the seaports, along with a further 90 million baht to look into the feasibility of highway and rail connections between the two.

If the project went ahead it would be a major blow to Singapore which has built its fortune on being the south east Asian shipping and trading hub at the turning point at the bottom of the Mallaca Strait.

SOURCE: South China Morning Post


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  1. Toby Andrews

    Tuesday, September 1, 2020 at 12:28 pm

    Big ideas for a country that cannot buy outright just one Chinese submarine.
    They have to buy it in instalments!

  2. Toby Andrews

    Tuesday, September 1, 2020 at 3:51 pm

    I see that piracy is up from 8 in 2018 to 30 last year.
    Phuket is near the Molacca Straits.
    I suggest the authorities check the alibis and bank accounts of out of work, former Phuket Tuc Tuc drivers.

    Signed Sherlock

  3. Tony Restall

    Tuesday, September 1, 2020 at 9:08 pm

    A foolish Idea by someone who has no knowledge about shipping. First have you ever experienced Thai Railways? – That question alone should answer your question as to the viability of a ‘LAND BRIDGE’ and if Thailand can do then why cant Malaysia as they muted the same concept but dropped the idea.
    Can you seriously see any of the Shipping Lines and Carriers offloading from one Port to have goods carried by a Land bridge to be loaded onto another carrier. SAVING WHAT? Certainly Not SAILING TIME….
    Thailand stumbles from idiot idea to another without any concept of modern day logistics or economic development. Heaven help Thailand – This is Not the Answer….

    • Peter

      Thursday, September 3, 2020 at 12:20 pm

      Not saying you are wrong, but what is YOUR solution? You seem to poke holes into others’ solutions. That is easy.

      • InnerCynic

        Friday, September 4, 2020 at 3:24 am

        Exactly. Whats the answer?

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