Govt floats new plan for land bridge
The government is considering the idea of a land bridge project connecting the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand via Ranong and Chumphon provinces.
Deputy government spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul on Sunday told a press briefing that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha wants to improve infrastructure to increase the country's competitiveness.
"Prime Minister Prayut gave us the guideline that we must be prudent and look at financial feasibility, cost-effectiveness, environmental impact and public acceptance," Ms Traisuree said.
"This land bridge project is a strategy to link the Middle East and East Asia via Thailand."
She said the land bridge would help to connect oil producers in the Middle East and Europe with energy importers and manufacturers in Japan, South Korea and China.
The Ministry of Transport's feasibility study will take a year to complete. It will take another two years for approval and related processes before the construction of the government and private sector co-investment can begin.
The project envisions a dual-track railway and motorway spanning the 130 kilometres between Ranong and Chumphon. Deep sea-ports will be built on both the Andaman Sea and Gulf of Thailand sides.
She said the route will shorten the usual transportation time by two days.
The land bridge is part of the government's plan to develop a Southern Economic Corridor covering Chumphon, Ranong, Surat Thani and Nakhon Si Thammarat which will connect with the Eastern Economic Corridor in Chon Buri and Rayong.