Infrastructure upgrades for region

The eastern seaboard development region, which began operations in the mid-1980s to draw domestic and international companies to establish export-oriented businesses, stands as one of Thailand's top success stories.

The region, which currently contributes to roughly 20 per cent of Thailand's gross domestic product, is known for its vibrant automotive sector, which has attracted investments of more than US$11.4 billion (S$15.6 billion) in the last three decades.

The Map Ta Phut industrial estate ranks as Asia's fifth largest petrochemical complex, where more than US$27.7 billion has been invested. Separately, industrial estates in the area today boast nearly 3,800 factories that have collectively invested another US$50 billion during the same period, according to official figures.

To prepare the region for its next leap, the Thai military government has identified five so-called pillar projects. They include:

1.The ongoing expansion of the Laem Chabang deep-sea port that is estimated to cost US$1 billion and is due for completion later this year.

2. The Bangkok-Rayong high-speed train that will be built at the estimated cost of US$4.47 billion and is expected to be operational in 2020.

3. Upgrades at the U-Tapao airport to more than triple capacity to three million passengers a year.

4. A US$1.8 billion double-tracking railway network that will connect Kaeng Khoi to Map Ta Phut port.

5. The US$580 million Pattaya-Map Ta Phut motorway.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 20, 2017, with the headline 'Infrastructure upgrades for region'. Print Edition | Subscribe