Thailand's Landbridge will bring East and West closer


We publish here an excerpt of the speech by the Prime Minister of Thailand Srettha Thavisin on the Landbridge project

Thailand's Landbridge mega infrastructure project is an effort towards creating seamless connectivity to boost long-term growth prospects in the region and is fully in line with my Government's proactive economic diplomacy.

The project will include the construction of deep-sea ports in Ranong, on Thailand's Andaman coast, and Chumphon, in the Gulf of Thailand. Located approximately 90 kilometers apart, the two ports will operate under the “one port, two sides” concept, supported by a highway and double-track railway lines to connect the ports with each other and with the country's national network.

Each port will have the capacity to handle up to 20 million standard containers per year. The plan also includes the installation of a network of oil and gas pipelines. The total estimated cost is 1 trillion baht ($28 billion).

The Landbridge project represents an unprecedented opportunity to improve connectivity between the Pacific and Indian Oceans and to link economic activity between the two regions.

It promises to facilitate greater movement of goods and people between East and West, offering a viable route for maritime trade beyond the Straits of Malacca.

Once completed, the Landbridge is expected to reduce travel times by an average of four days between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific and reduce transportation costs by 15%. For a company shipping goods from Chennai to Yokohama, for example, this could mean savings of up to five days and 4% on costs.

Those familiar with Thailand's logistical development might see the Landbridge as a modern reworking of a century-old proposal to dredge a canal across the Kra Isthmus.

Although it was originally approved in 1989 as part of Thailand's Southern Economic Corridor, various considerations have left this project unrealized to this day. Now the timing will align well with the growth prospects of the economies of the Indian subcontinent and Africa.

Plans call for the first phase of construction to begin in September 2025 and last until October 2030. Contractors will likely be able to bid on the project between April and June 2025.

The Landbridge is expected to bring benefits of 1.3 trillion baht to the Thai economy and increase the country's annual gross domestic product growth rate by 1.5% through increased export opportunities and the creation of 280,000 jobs . It will also bring new development opportunities for other provinces in southern Thailand.

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