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Officials call on govt to back deep-sea port
Senior Transport Ministry officials are urging the government to press ahead with the Pak Bara deep-sea port in Satun instead of shifting resources to the development of the planned port in the Burmese town of Dawei.
Inspector-general Chula Sukmanop said the Pak Bara deep-sea port on the Andaman coast would be hugely important for the nation over the next 20 years.
It would support the country in becoming a major regional and global centre of transport, trade and investment.
Mr Chula expressed concern about the government move to shift its support to the deep-sea port at Dawei and downsize the Pak Bara port project in the lower South.
Pak Bara, like the Laem Chabang port on the Eastern Seaboard, was designed to promote trade, be a gateway to support the growth of Indochina and attract development projects to its vicinity, Mr Chula said.
The port would generate income from related businesses like marine transport, land transport inside the country and clusters of industries that would emerge near the port.
Thailand would have no new selling points to stimulate economic activity over the next 20 years without Pak Bara as an important element in a planned land bridge connecting the South China and Andaman seas, he said.
Trade between Asia and Europe is expanding by 8.9% a year.
Mr Chula said Thailand had the edge over nearby countries because of its strategic location and by linking many nations that are playing a leading economic role.
Development of the Pak Bara port would also improve the quality of life of people living nearby and thus ease security problems in the region.
The port would also support China's plan to send its products to Southeast Asia and Europe and India's policy to trade with East Asia.
The director of the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning, Soithip Trisuddhi, said Thailand needed a deep-sea port on its Andaman coast for reasons of national security and economic prosperity.
Ms Soithip said the port would substantially reduce rubber export costs by avoiding the need to ship the product through ports in neighbouring countries.
She called for the full-scale development of the Pak Bara port after it had already been studied in detail. She disagreed with any policy to downsize it into a tourism-oriented port as there was a similar facility nearby.
Ms Soithip said her office would report the merits of the Pak Bara port project to the cabinet this month and insist it should not be scaled back.
The project would be more worthwhile and less risky than promoting the Dawei port as Thailand would have its own deep-sea port on the Andaman Sea, capture a bigger share of the cargo market and boost the economy in the South, she said.