Korea-Thailand Dry Canal to Carry Ship by Rail?

June 5, 2015

 South Korea mulls a US$4.8-billion (S$6.5 b) "rail canal" project to Thailand that would be able to cut 2,000km and two days off the shipping route through the Strait of Malacca, reports Reuters.

 
The project that could entail the new concept of a "dry canal" for conveying ships by rail, will be submitted for Thailand's consideration, aiming to provide a new trade lane via this country's land bridge, sources said.
 
The 57-kilometre route would run from Ranong province's Kra Buri district on the west to Chumphon on the east, Jinyu Choi, director-general of the Korea Railroad Research Institute (KRRI) said.
 
The construction cost would also be cheaper than that of a conventional canal, estimated at US$7.1 billion. "Our research team will present this project in detail to Thai Transport Minister Prajin Juntong during the second 'Thailand Rail Academy Symposium' to be held in Phitsanulok in August," Choi said. 
 
This kind of project should be handled on a government-to-government basis, he added.
 
Rattapoohm Parichatprecha, director of the Centre of Excellence for Road and Railway Innovation, Naresuan University, said the rail-canal concept was very innovative as a substitute for a real canal, which would face environmental problems and community resistance. 
 

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