Thailand building transport links with Mekong neighbors

Thailand is on track to becoming the region’s transportation nexus with over $3 billion in mobility infrastructure moving forward that will link the Kingdom’s border provinces with five other countries in the Mekong subregion.

“Once construction of the facilities is complete, Thailand will become a major transit country among the GMS (Greater Mekong Subregion) members,” Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith told a press conference.

The new infrastructure includes double-track rail lines, bridges, roads, and logistics centers – some of which are being built in border provinces of neighboring countries – that will increase connectivity in the GMS. Much of it should be finished within the next two to five years.

The GMS includes Cambodia, China’s Yunnan province, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam. Thailand has long served as the transportation center of the subregion because of its central and strategic location, and its plentiful roads, rail, seaports, and airports.

Most of that infrastructure is still functioning. However, some of it is aging and in need of upgrades. Construction of new and more modern facilities to handle growing traffic and loads is required. To remain competitive into the future, advanced mobility technologies are also being integrated into the new and upgraded infrastructure and systems.

Arkhom said that the roads, rail lines, and logistics centers would create new “economic corridors” as trade and investment pours into areas around routes linking Thai border zones with neighboring countries.

Many of those countries lack the plentiful facilities found in the Kingdom, and that have helped it emerge as a regional trading and logistics center that connects mainland Southeast Asia to the global economy.

The new economic corridors should boost Thailand’s trade and commerce with external partners, while also spreading development to its border regions. That would help to reduce disparities within the Kingdom. At the same time, that trade and investment should also serve to spread development to Thailand’s neighbors, helping to reduce regional disparities.