Thailand Transport hub status beckons for the brave

Construction News

Yingluck govt urged to embrace mega-projects before it is too late

Situated strategically in the region, Thailand looks set to become a regional transport hub.

The country has long stretches of coastal land along both the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea, which is a tremendous asset.

With this geographical advantage, ideas were floated to develop the southern seaboard and a landbridge project more than two decades ago.

But various governments have pursued and then abandoned these plans.

This has also been the case with the plan to build the Pak Bara deep-sea port in Satun province to make it a multi-purpose port serving both goods transport and tourism and as a gateway for shipping to India and the Middle East.

These projects have been stalled partly because of a lack of clarity in successive governments’ policies.

The landbridge project to connect the Andaman coast with the Gulf of Thailand also came under fire from communities and environmentalists fearful about the heavy concentration of industrial and oil-related complexes on the Andaman and Gulf coasts.

One study has shown the land bridge would be an economically viable investment for the state, with an economic investment rate of return estimated at 17.53%.

The southern seaboard project would involve building two deep-sea ports, one on the Andaman side and another on the Gulf side, with industrial estates near the latter, and a land bridge with logistics links between the two ports.

The land bridge would consist of rail and road links.

The proposed 142km rail link would run from Pak Bara deep-sea port in Langu and Khuan Ka Long districts of Satun, and Rattaphum, Hat Yai, Na Mom and Chana districts of Songkhla and the second deep-sea port in Songkhla.

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