Berlin ‘keen on land bridge’

Berlin ‘keen on land bridge’

Envoy welcomes investor roadshow in Germany, says transport minister Suriya

Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit and Ernst Wolfgang Reichel, the German ambassador to Thailand, meet on Tuesday at the Ministry of Transport. (Photo: Ministry of Transport)
Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit and Ernst Wolfgang Reichel, the German ambassador to Thailand, meet on Tuesday at the Ministry of Transport. (Photo: Ministry of Transport)

Germany has shown a keen interest in Thailand’s Land Bridge megaproject and has invited the government to conduct a roadshow in Germany to woo investors, Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit said on Wednesday.

He made the comment after a meeting with Ernst Wolfgang Reichel, the German ambassador to Thailand, in which the two discussed various aspects of bilateral cooperation and Thailand’s key transport projects.

“The German side was clearly interested in the land bridge project. And [the ambassador] will report back to the German government about the project, which he believes will appeal to many investors [in Germany],” said Mr Suriya.

Mr Reichel said the Thai proposal had been well-received by many international investors and asked the Thai government to launch a roadshow to promote it in Germany, said the minister.

The Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning has been planning to conduct a number of roadshows to promote the project in various countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, he said.

While the project will be subject to public hearings around the planned sites in Chumphon and Ranong provinces, a series of promotional events targeting international investment will begin later this month and continue through January, Mr Suriya said.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin also intends to talk up the project when he attends the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) meetings in San Francisco next week.

The Ranong-Chumphon project is the latest in a decades-long parade of proposals to create a link between the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand and reduce the need for shipping via the Strait of Malacca. Port and industrial estate developments at either end would be linked by a road-rail-pipeline network.

Previous land bridge proposals have failed to catch on, with opposition from communities and environmentalists a key obstacle.

The Ranong-Chumphon land bridge was first mooted by the previous government and the new cabinet has since refined it, with an estimated investment cost of 1 trillion baht.

Findings from the ongoing hearings, estimated to take around two months, will be submitted along with other documents for an environmental health impact assessment (EHIA), which is expected to be completed by late next year, said Mr Suriya.

Invitations to bid will then be sent out to prospective investors between April and June of 2025, with bidding results to be forwarded to the cabinet for approval in August of that year, he added.

Construction of the land bridge, which is estimated to take five years, is expected to begin in September 2025 and end in October 2030.

Of the 1 trillion baht budget, 300 billion baht will go to building a new seaport on the Gulf side in Chumphon, while another 330 billion will be used for another port on the Ranong side, the minister said.

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