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Thailand Takes a Step Back From Kra Canal Proposal


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Thailand Takes a Step Back From Kra Canal Proposal

BY THE MARITIME EXECUTIVE

 

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The Kra Isthmus separates the Bay of Bengal, left, from the Gulf of Thailand (NASA Worldview)

 

Thailand is now examining ground transport alternatives to a proposed 60-mile-long canal across the Kra Isthmus, dampening China's hopes for a strategic alternative to the Strait of Malacca.

 

Last week, Bloomberg reported that Thailand is now considering the construction of two deep sea ports, one on each side of the isthmus, then connecting the two by road and rail. For dry goods, this arrangement could trim about two to three days of sea travel off the voyage between East Asia and the Bay of Bengal, but it would not provide a shortcut for military vessels or VLCCs. “Using an alternative route through Thailand would cut shipping time by more than two days, which is very valuable for businesses," said transport minister Saksiam Chidchob in an interview with Bloomberg. 

 

The Strait of Malacca is one of the world's most important strategic choke points for shipping. More than 200 merchant vessels transit the waterway each day, including the oil tankers that supply China's booming demand for imported petroleum. A pipeline between Myanmar and Yunnan Province carries roughly 200,000 barrels per day from a receiving port on the Bay of Bengal into refineries in Kunming, but it supplies a small fraction of China's nine million bpd import volume.

 

Full story: https://www.maritime-executive.com/article/thailand-takes-a-step-back-from-kra-canal-proposal

 

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-- © Copyright The Maritime Executive 2020-09-08
 
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Many foreign countries have voiced concerns about this.  Countries that also do a lot of trade with Thailand.  A rail system is probably now going to work and cost a lot more than it will save. 

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5 hours ago, webfact said:

Thailand is now examining ground transport alternatives to a proposed 60-mile-long canal across the Kra Isthmus, dampening China's hopes for a strategic alternative to the Strait of Malacca.

If Thailand let this canal be built for the Chinese use of containers and military vessels they can kiss goodbye any trade talks with the west.

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I will gladly give you a canal today, for a submarine tomorrow.

 

Idea has been around for eons, as early as the 17th century.

 

Believe there was even a proposal to use nuclear bombs to speed up construction.

 

Typically viewed as bad for national security as it would divide the Kingdom.

 

 

6 hours ago, don43451 said:

Okay, I'm not a transportation specialist and have no experience in shipping.  I see how saving two days can save money, but wouldn't the extra handling and fees for using the ports offset any savings?

 

Strait of Malacca viewed as "choke-able" in a conflict - also narrow, congested, accident-prone, pirates, longer transit - not that a canal wouldn't be.

 

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And what about the much vaunted Daweii port in Burma and the full speed ahead fast rail/road connection from Bangkok up through Kanchanaburi into Burma?

 

Cancel any ideas on building a canal and, instead, develop a heavy lift transport aircraft to carry the submarines to and from from U-Tapao to the Andaman Sea to enable the essential national security operations. Got to be cheaper.

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