PM promotes THB1.4tn land bridge to world leaders, investors at APEC
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin promoted Thailand’s 1.4-trillion-baht Land Bridge to world leaders and investors gathered in San Francisco for the APEC 2023 Summit on Monday.
Presiding over the “Thailand Landbridge Roadshow”, the PM said the project would provide a new east-west route for global trade valued at more than US$38 trillion annually.
Srettha said the land bridge connecting the Gulf of Thailand with the Andaman Sea would offer an alternative to the congested Malacca Strait. The narrow shipping lane between Malaysia and Singapore carries about 40% of global trade, according to Reuters.
Currently, all container ships travelling between Asia and Europe must pass through the strait.
"Around 90,000 ships pass through the Malacca Strait each year," Srettha said.
The volume of container ships using the strait is increasing by 2.35% every year, with capacity expected to reach maximum by 2030, he added.
"If the Malacca Strait faces congestion, it could severely affect the [global] economy," the PM warned.
He also flagged up potential problems in the strait such as shipping accidents, piracy, unfavourable weather conditions, increasing transportation costs and shipping delays.
"The land bridge will be an additional route to support transportation, and an important solution to issues in the Strait of Malacca," he said.
The land bridge would connect the Pacific and Indian oceans, helping to reduce transport costs and time, and ensuring safety.
He added that investors in logistics, property, banking and primary manufacturing sectors would benefit from the megaproject.
It would also stimulate Thailand's economy, creating 280,000 jobs and boosting the country's GDP by 5.5% annually, he said.