Navy investing in EEC ports, Phuket port expands
The Royal Thai Navy is moving full steam ahead towards developing the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) with a nearly $60 million dollar investment in 13 projects including ferry ports, while the government announced an expansion for Phuket’s deep-sea port and upgrades to two regional airports as part of the Kingdom’s program of national infrastructure upgrades.
The 13 projects will mainly be based in Chonburi province, home to the Sattahip naval base, and will link up with land-based transport systems and the international airport at U-Tapao to enhance Thailand’s logistics capabilities. Sattahip is also home to a commercial port as well as the Royal Thai Navy’s largest deep-water port.
The Eastern Economic Corridor is a development zone that will showcase advances in Thailand’s economy and society and provide a home for higher-technology and green industries, research and development centers and more modern and environmentally friendly communities. The zone covers the provinces of Chonburi, Rayong and Chachoengsao to the immediate east of the capital Bangkok.
Developing the zone in and of itself should provide an important economic stimulus in terms of investment, both domestic and foreign, and through a robust building and construction program.
The Navy’s projects will include a business area covering five acres at Chuk Samet, Sattahip, along with two quays for ferries and cruise liners, a ferry terminal and multimodal transport links. The ferries will link the EEC with cities, towns, resorts and manufacturing centers along the Kingdom’s east coast on the Gulf of Thailand and the port will be expanded to handle cruise liners.
Earlier this month, the government approved a budget of $230 million to build a second runway at U-Tapao airport, and also decided that a public-private partnership would be the model employed to build the airport’s second terminal. That runway should be in use in three years.
Meanwhile, Airports of Thailand said last week it is seeking investments to upgrade airports in Mae Sot, near the border with Myanmar, and Khon Kaen, one of the largest provinces in the northeast. Airports of Thailand executives said they envision Khon Kaen as the aviation hub of the northeastern region, although they are not ruling out nearby Udon Thani province for taking up that role.
Further south, the government is planning on expanding the deep-sea port in Phuket province, one of the top tourist destinations in the Kingdom.
“The current port is about 1,200 feet wide and unable to handle big cargo ships and passenger ships at the same time. We plan to expand it to 1,377 feet in order to provide convenience to both groups. The project will take about 13 months to complete,” said Sorasak Sansombat of the Marine Department.
Royal Thai Embassy, Washington, D.C.