Ministry unveils shipping routes along east corridor
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Ministry unveils shipping routes along east corridor

The Ministry of Transport has unveiled a domestic route map for its national shipping line to promote freight transport from the east to the south which is expected to be completed by next year.

It is part of the ministry's plan to connect the Southern Economic Corridor (SEC) with the land bridge megaproject linking Chumphon on the eastern coast of the Gulf of Thailand to Ranong on the Andaman Sea, serving as a major transit port to connect the Pacific and Indian oceans.

An initial feasibility study has suggested that both domestic and international shipping lines are needed to connect transport in the Gulf of Thailand, Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob said on Sunday.

For domestic shipping, the Harbour Department has worked with Seahorse Ferries Co Ltd to run a new gulf ferry route from Chuk Samet port in Chon Buri's Sattahip to Southern port in Songkhla. A trial started last month and the service is expected to start by next year. The line is expected to reduce the use of trucks to about 90,000 each year for road freight transport, he said.

In addition to the international shipping line, which the ministry could also provide, the eastern line will cover regional shipping to countries such as South Korea, Japan and China.

The western line will provide freight service for the Bay of Bengal Initiative Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) which expecting to complete by the second quarter of next year. The BIMSTEC comprise Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Mr Saksayam said the Blue Dolphin ferry was certified by the department with internationally-certified equipment to ensure safety. It is capable of carrying about 100 vehicles and 536 passengers for weekly trips, he said.

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