Thailand is set to begin work on a US$12.22 billion port-rail project with China in September 2015 in a bid to stimulate its economy.
According to Reuters, Thailand and China agreed in December, 2014 to build the rail line that would see ports and industrial zones in Thailand’s eastern region be connected to the Thai border and Laos.
The city of Nong Khai, located on the Thai-Laos border, aims to be connected to Bangkok and Thailand's industrialised eastern seaboard by more than 700km of track.
The project could benefit both China and Thailand as Thailand would be able to boost trade and tourism, with China strengthening its strategic foothold in the country.
Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Transport Minister Air Chief Marshal Prajin Junthong, said: “We expect it will cost about 400 billion baht [US$12.22 billion] and will be completed within two and a half years,” adding that around 12-15 companies were interested in participating in the project.
The first phase of construction will begin on September 1, 2015, whereby Thailand’s cities of Bangkok and Saraburi will be linked. Saraburi will then be connected to the Port of Rayong in the Gulf of Thailand.
The second phase, which aims to link Thailand's north-eastern region, will begin on December 1, 2015.
China in Huge Port-Rail Plan with Thailand. (Source: Go Pix Pic)