South Korea plans to propose to Thailand a USD 4.8 billion ”dry canal” project, featuring a new concept of moving ships by rail through Thailand’s land bridge, the Singaporean news agency Asia One reports.
The proposed 57-kilometre ”rail-canal” would link the western Kra Buri district to Chumphon on the east, according to the director-general of the Korea Railroad Research Institute (KRRI) Jinyu Choi.
The proposed rail link would shave 2,000 kilometres off the current route through the Strait of Malacca, cutting transit times by two days, Choi said.
Another advantage for the proposed dry canal over a conventional one is the construction costs, Choi said. The estimated costs for building a conventional canal are USD 7.1 billion, USD 2.3 billion more than what would be needed to build the proposed rail canal.
KKRI will present the project in detail to Thai Transport Minister Prajin Juntong at the ‘Thailand Rail Academy Symposium,’ held in Phitasnulok this August.
World Maritime News Staff