IEAT presses new seaport construction

IEAT presses new seaport construction

Map Ta Phut project to begin on July 1

An aerial view of the Map Ta Phut deep-sea port in Rayong.
An aerial view of the Map Ta Phut deep-sea port in Rayong.

The Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) is preparing to begin construction of the third phase of development of Map Ta Phut deep-sea port in Rayong on July 1, despite the Covid-19 outbreak and a compensation dispute between officials and fishermen.

The port expansion, which is needed as current facilities have reached their full capacity, will go ahead as planned although concerns have been voiced over the pandemic's impact on the project, according to the IEAT.

IEAT is required to organise a meeting among villagers living near the area to publicise the project, but the plan has come at a time when the Covid-19 situation remains volatile.

"We are working with Rayong and local administrative body officials to organise the event before construction begins. We expect to proceed as planned," said IEAT governor Veeris Ammarapala.

IEAT also set tomorrow as the date to meet the Rayong governor about a plan to set up a panel to solve the compensation issue.

The third-phase development of Map Ta Phut requires reclamation covering 1,000 rai in the sea, which is causing worry amongst fishermen in the area.

A group of fishermen with 400 boats sent a petition to IEAT officials on April 29 demanding compensation similar to that provided to villagers living near the Laem Chabang deep-sea port in Chon Buri, often referred to as the "Laem Chabang model".

The fishermen are worried construction will create sediment and wastewater, reducing the number of marine species their business relies on, according to a media report.

IEAT announced earlier it would set up two relief funds in a bid to calm the fishermen.

Mr Veeris said the government issued a notice to proceed letter to the Gulf MTP LNG Terminal Co to start construction, which includes reclamation, dredging watercourses and building embankments against sea waves.

According to IEAT, the third-phase development of Map Ta Phut deep-sea port has a total investment of 55.4 billion baht.

The project is one of five infrastructure development projects under the Eastern Economic Corridor scheme.

Other projects are a high-speed railway linking three airports (225 billion baht); U-tapao aviation city (290 billion); a maintenance, repair and overhaul centre (10.6 billion); and third-phase development of Laem Chabang seaport (114 billion).

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