Thai minister to push for Land Bridge megaproject in China visit

Picture courtesy of infoquest

Suriya Jungrungreangkit, the Thai Transport Minister, is set to lead a delegation to China to explore further developments concerning the Thai-Chinese high-speed railway project and advocate for the 1 trillion baht (US$27 billion) Land Bridge megaproject. The visit, which is scheduled for next month, will involve participation in the 31st Thailand-China joint ministerial committee meeting.

A key agenda item is an update on the first phase of the high-speed rail project that links Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima. The discussion will be the first in-person engagement on the project in five years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Suriya disclosed that phase one of the project is about 32% complete and is projected to be completed by 2028.

The meeting will also explore the readiness to launch the second phase of the project, which extends from Nakhon Ratchasima to Nong Khai. This expansion could potentially connect with the Chinese-Laos high-speed train system.

The second phase, spanning 357.12 kilometres, is budgeted at an investment of 341.35 billion baht (US$9.2 billion). The route will be divided into a 202.48-kilometre elevated section and a 154.64-kilometre ground-level stretch, with five stations positioned along the route: Bua Yai, Ban Phai, Khon Kaen, Udon Thani, and Nong Khai.

Suriya informed that the National Environment Board is currently reviewing the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the second phase. The ministry anticipates that electronic bidding will occur within the next year, with the project slated for completion by 2031.

Besides the railway project, Suriya’s trip will involve discussions with Chinese investors about the Land Bridge megaproject. This initiative aims to establish a logistics network that links Chumphon on the Gulf of Thailand to Ranong on the Andaman coast. The project includes the construction of deep-water ports in both provinces, a motorway to connect the two provinces, and a railway system, reported Bangkok Post.

The ministry is set to finalise the Southern Economic Corridor (SEC) law within this year’s fourth quarter and plans to invite foreign investors by next year’s fourth quarter. Bidding will commence in 2026’s second quarter, followed by land expropriation in the fourth quarter of the same year. The Land Bridge’s construction is projected to start in 2026 and is expected to be operational by 2030.

Thailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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