Thailand to launch roadshow in China promoting 1 trillion baht Land Bridge project

Photo courtesy of Government House

Thailand’s Transport Ministry, headed by Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit, announced yesterday that it would be launching a roadshow in China next month to promote the Land Bridge project. This announcement followed a recent visit by Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi, who expressed China’s interest in the project.

As a response, the Thai government is preparing to submit a project report to the Chinese embassy in Thailand next week, which will then be forwarded to the Chinese government.

The Land Bridge project, valued at 1 trillion baht, aims to connect Ranong with Chumphon in southern Thailand. The project is anticipated to bolster the logistics network and alleviate congestion in the Strait of Malacca over the next decade. It includes the development of deep-water ports in both provinces, a motorway to link the two provinces, and a railway system.

The ongoing research and study on the project, conducted by the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTP), is nearing completion. Furthermore, the project’s environment and health impact assessment (EHIA) report is set to be finalised this year.

The project has attracted the attention of multiple foreign investors, including Dubai Ports (DP) World. The multinational logistics company expressed interest in the project during the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland, last month and is planning a site visit later this month, said the Transport Minister.

“The 10% internal rate of return they will receive from the project is the key factor that makes the investors interested.”

However, despite the positive feedback from foreign investors, the project has raised concerns among experts. Wiwat Jankingthong, manager of Hat Yai University’s Business Innovation Research Centre, stated that public opinion on the project was divided. While some believe the Land Bridge will boost the economy, concerns have been raised about potential disproportionate advantages for groups or individuals with vested interests. Critics of the project have voiced concerns over its environmental impact and financial costs.

Former Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak suggested in a seminar at Thammasat University yesterday that the government should focus on long-term projects like the Eastern Economic Corridor to stimulate the economy and contribute to national stability, reported Bangkok Post.

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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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