Thailand’s Land Bridge Project: Potential Investment Attraction

The Land Bridge project in southern Thailand, currently awaiting approval, is gaining attention as a prospective catalyst for foreign investments, drawing parallels with the successful Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), as indicated by the government. While the EEC operates successfully, acting as a high-tech industrial hub, the challenge lies in maintaining support for it while advocating for investments in the Land Bridge project. Kanit Sangsubhan, former secretary-general of the EEC Office emphasised the complementary nature of both projects, suggesting that the success of the Land Bridge could further attract investments to the EEC, serving as a gateway to global markets through air and sea transport.

The Land Bridge initiative involves constructing deep-sea ports in Chumphon and Ranong, connected by a 100-kilometre expressway and rail network for efficient goods transportation. This could potentially reduce shipping time by two days, facilitating trade with markets in India, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, according to the Bangkok Post.

Despite the promising benefits, concerns persist regarding the project’s impact on local communities and the environment. The project not only aims to cut logistics costs but also provides opportunities for related businesses, such as international warehouses.

Simultaneously, the EEC Office, led by Chula Sukmanop, plans to increase annual foreign investment in the EEC to 100 billion baht (US$2.8 billion), focusing on the digital sector, up from 70 billion baht (US$1.96 billion). Despite some delays in key EEC infrastructure development, the EEC continues to attract investments, particularly in the electric vehicle (EV) and EV battery industries.

Sanan Angubolkul, Chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, emphasised the government’s priority on EEC development to attract foreign direct investment adding that he sees the Land Bridge as a potential driver for Thailand’s competitiveness and economic growth, contingent on its ability to attract foreign investors. Despite challenges, the EEC remains active, generating new economic value for the country through infrastructure development and investments in high-tech industries.