Thailand’s mega land bridge project: an economic boon or environmental bane?

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The Industry Ministry of Thailand is currently assessing the environmental impact of a proposed land bridge megaproject in the southern part of the country, a venture that promises to significantly bolster the Thai economy in the future. This assessment is crucial to determining the project’s viability and addressing any potential negative effects on the environment.

The proposed land bridge, which aims to establish a logistics network between Ranong on the Andaman Sea and Chumphon on the Gulf of Thailand, has been a topic of discussion for four decades. It is envisioned as an alternative maritime route to the existing Indian Ocean-Pacific Ocean pathway via the Strait of Malacca, which sees approximately 85,000 ships annually—a figure projected to rise to 128,000 within the next ten years, according to the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT).

However, this ambitious plan has raised concerns among local communities over its potential impact on their lifestyle and the environment. Despite these concerns, the project could potentially provide higher wages for residents.

Industry Minister Pimphattra Wichaikul, who recently met with local industry officials and entrepreneurs in Chumphon, said the government will promote investment and skilled labour development, as well as support small and medium-sized enterprises in the area.

“The land bridge will play a key role in driving the Thai economy in the long term.”

The ministry aims to attract investments and modify regulations to aid the establishment of new ventures to develop the land bridge project.

Pimphattra further highlighted that the project is anticipated to connect to the Southern Economic Corridor, encompassing Chumphon, Ranong, Surat Thani, and Nakhon Si Thammarat provinces. This corridor is expected to link with the Eastern Economic Corridor, which is currently being transformed into a high-tech industrial hub, hosting 12 targeted S-curve industries.

The investment value of the land bridge project, including the construction of new deep-sea ports and a highway and railway system, was estimated at 1 trillion baht during the Prayut Chan-o-cha government.

Veeris Ammarapala, governor of the IEAT, said the IEAT is ready to support the land bridge project.

He added that the government should prioritise organising international roadshows to introduce the project to potential investors, reported Bangkok Post.

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Alex Morgan

Alex is a 42-year-old former corporate executive and business consultant with a degree in business administration. Boasting over 15 years of experience working in various industries, including technology, finance, and marketing, Alex has acquired in-depth knowledge about business strategies, management principles, and market trends. In recent years, Alex has transitioned into writing business articles and providing expert commentary on business-related issues. Fluent in English and proficient in data analysis, Alex strives to deliver well-researched and insightful content to readers, combining practical experience with a keen analytical eye to offer valuable perspectives on the ever-evolving business landscape.

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