Bridge link to stimulate the economy
Megaproject will be a new logistics hub
Mr Saksayam believes the southern land bridge will reduce shipping times between the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea.
Thailand’s economy will be fueled by a Southern Land Bridge megaproject, which will connect the Gulf of Thailand to the Andaman Sea, as part of the state’s ambitious plan to make Thailand a logistics hub in the ‘Asean, said Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob.
The minister highlighted the southern land bridge project as he was invited, along with key businessmen and state officials, to share their views on how to move the country forward – currently reeling from a third Covid-19 epidemic.
The megaproject received support from the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), as its chairman, Supant Mongkolsuthree, said he believed the project would support the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) program.
Spanning three provinces, including Chon Buri, Rayong and Chachoengsao on the eastern coast of the Gulf of Thailand, the EEC is on its way to becoming a high-tech industrial zone.
Mr Saksayam said the government is keen to invest in infrastructure projects covering sea, air and land to serve economic growth.
“The southern land bridge will be a new logistics and trade route in the region, replacing the Strait of Malacca,” he said Wednesday at a seminar entitled “Empowering Thailand”.
“The land bridge will become the shortest sea route from the Indian Ocean to the Gulf of Thailand and the Pacific Ocean.”
Last month, Mr Saksayam urged the agencies to speed up work on the megaproject. He said 16-meter-deep ports will be built at both ends, with connections to the country’s transportation network as part of the Motorway-Rail Map project, known as MR Map.
His ministry hopes to complete the entire project next year after the cabinet approved its initial feasibility study, he said.
âMany foreign investors have expressed interest in investing in the land bridge. This will pave the way for Thailand to become an ‘economic tiger’ in ASEAN again,â Saksayam said.
The government is also planning to build many MR roads, including MR5, connecting Ranong to Chumphon in the south, MR6, connecting Phuket to Surat Thani, and MR4, stretching from Chon Buri to Trat on the east coast.