The twofold approach will see Thailand's Laem Chabang become the gateway of Upper ASEAN (Association of South East Nations) region or the countries of Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand, sending out to the world cargo from those countries.
Part of the plan is to reduce service times at the terminals. Fast In and Fast Out will be the new motto, said Dr Chula Sukmanop, Inspector General of the Ministry of Transport at a conference in Bangkok on February 29. To underscore the government’s determination on this a number of parameters will be set for which management will be held accountable.
Laem Chabang will also have a specific port link with improved road and rail access to Thailand's borders where a chain of dry ports will be set up. While roads will be important, rail will do the larger share of movements of goods.
This represents a huge shift in government thinking, effectively closing down the idea of Thailand's Western gateway being Dawei, the mega part to be built in southern Myanmar by Thai conglomerate ITD.
A port at Pakbara on the Andaman or Western coast is now being considered, a move which puts the land bridge notion back on the long term agenda.