Tak: Local businesses are optimistic that the second Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge, which is set to open tomorrow, will boost cross-border trade.
The bridge, which is expected to be the most efficient link between Tak province and Myanmar's most prominent cities, connects with the Mae Sot-Myawaddy permanent border checkpoint and the Mae Sot-Myawaddy customs checkpoint.
The opening of the second Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge is expected to boost Thailand's cross-border trade as all goods transport routes will be diverted to this new route in the East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC), said Suchat Triratwatthana, a businessman and adviser to Tak’s chamber of commerce.
The EWEC is also known as the R9 route that serves Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar.
The transport of goods on all other border routes through Myanmar to a third country will likely be diverted to this new route and through the Mae Sot-Myawaddy customs checkpoint, he said.
This new route is now the fastest and most convenient way to access prominent cities in Myanmar, he said.
A formal assessment of the impact of the new bridge's opening on Thailand's cross-border trade is expected to be completed within the next month or two, he said.
The bridge and customs checkpoint are set to be open every day from 5.30am until 8.30pm, but local businesses are calling for that time to be extended until midnight.
The bridge should be open until at least 10.30pm, said Mr Suchat.
Sanit Thongma, director of the 2nd Tak Highway District in Mae Sot, previously issued a notice stating that from Thursday, mid-sized buses, large coaches, and lorries with more than six wheels will be required to use the new bridge.
Small four-wheeled trucks, personal cars and passenger vans will be required to cross the border through the first Thai-Myanmar Friendship Bridge.