Deputy Government Spokeswoman, Traisulee Traisaranakul announced that the government led by PM and Minister of Defense General Prayut Chan-o-cha is proceeding to reform the Thai economy by strengthening the self-reliance of citizens, as well as investing in mega projects to boost Thailand’s competitive ability. At the moment, the Ministry of Transport is studying a land bridge mega project to connect the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea. The proposed bridge is expected to be 130 kilometers long, and run from a seaport in Chumphon to a seaport in Ranong; it would reduce transportation time by at least two days.
Miss Traisulee said the land bridge project will be studied over the course of a year. If the study reveals promising results, it will take a further two and a half years to begin construction. According to the initial plan, two deep seaports will be built in Ranong and Chumphon as transit stations for cargo from the Gulf of Thailand to the Andaman Sea. The two ports would be connected by a railway system and a motorway. With a land bridge available, cargo ships will use the two ports, instead of taking the traditional seaway that requires ships to access the strait of Malaca.
In addition, General Prayut also stressed that the study of the project must be prudent and cover all aspects including worthiness, environmental effects, and local opinions.
The land bridge project is part of the Southern Economic Corridor (SEC) development plan that covers four upper provinces of the southern region – Chumphon, Ranong, Surat Thani, and Nakhon Si Thammarat. The development plan will create a fully-covered transport system that can also connect to the Eastern Economic Corridor or EEC.
The Deputy Government Spokeswoman also added that the land bridge project will connect Thailand to Middle Eastern regions that produce oil and Europe that is a large consumer goods market, and Eastern Asian countries such as Japan, South Korea, China, and other countries that are consumers as well as also being known as the factory of the world.
It’s planned that the project be funded by both the government and the private sector.
According to the Minister of Transport, Saksayam Chidchob, private sector businesses that are interested in investing in infrastructure, will fund all kinds of transport systems including deep seaports, railways, and motorways. (NNT)