Hearings open for Laem Chabang Port expansion

0
1482

Laem Chabang Port opened public hearings on its proposed, and controversial, third-phase expansion project.

Sub Lt. Yuttana Mokaow, assistant director at Laem Chabang Port Authority, chaired the Aug. 24 meeting at Pattaya’s Cholchan Resort. Residents and business owners were invited to air their opinions on the positive and negative impacts of the expansion plan.

Laem Chabang Port opened public hearings on its proposed, and controversial, third-phase expansion project.
Laem Chabang Port opened public hearings on its proposed, and controversial, third-phase expansion project.

Details of the expansion plan remains amorphous, but more space for the country’s main seaport is needed, Yuttana said, as the facility currently is at 88 percent of capacity.

He said hearings also will be used to notify residents that no property will be seized by the government to expand the port.

Most of the third-phase development will occur offshore with land reclamation and landfill. Fishermen have objected to such a move, saying it will imperil their livelihoods.

Environmental issues were a hot topic at the hearing and opponents of the plan say Phase 3 will only exacerbate those problems.

Boonma Fangrak, president of the Baan Rongmaikeed Community, alleged that the first two phases of port development already impacted local residents and the environment and, if phases three and four are allowed, the situation would become even worse.

Expansion will affect agriculture, small animals, water quality and forests in the area, he claimed.

Laem Chabang ranks third among container freight in Southeast Asia and ranks 20th in the world according to the American Association of Port Authorities. The port currently handles the equivalent of about 10 million 20-foot containers with Phase 3 estimated to increase its capacity to 18 million containers a year.