The Transport Ministry plans to launch cross-docking centres in four more border provinces this year after workers broke ground at the first station in Chiang Rai’s Chiang Khong district Friday.

Speaking during the foundation-laying ceremony, Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said land appropriation projects will be pursued to pave the way for freight terminals in Nakhon Phanom, Nong Khai, Mukdahan and Tak.

Initial investment costs are estimated at 800 million baht per site, he said, adding that bids will be conducted to find partners to operate and maintain the facilities.

The four centres and Chiang Khong terminal are among 11 freight terminal projects aimed at better connecting land freight transport nationwide.

This is rising in line with Thailand’s growing strategic importance in the region.

Located on a 336-rai plot of land, the terminal will serve as a single service point for customs, immigration and quarantine. It will facilitate cargo transport from the western part of China via Laos to Thailand for further distribution.

According to Mr Arkhom, the Chiang Khong station will turn the district into a logistics hub for the north-south economic corridor.

Imports and exports passing through this border checkpoint are currently estimated at 21 billion baht a year.

“The ministry is aware of the significance of freight transport and we are pushing the project. Once it’s completed there will be customs, immigration and quarantine (CIQ) operations at the centre,” he said.

The first phase of the Chiang Khong project is expected to be completed in 2020, with the facility able to accommodate up to 270,000 twenty foot equivalent (TEU) containers.

The second phase is likely to be finished in 2023. It will link up with a 323-kilometre double-track railway from Den Chai district in Phrae to Chiang Khong.

The new rail project worth 85.3 billion baht is due to be submitted for cabinet consideration in March, with construction likely to start by the end of this year.

Of the 2.2 billion baht set aside for the Chiang Khong project, 1.4 billion baht is to cover construction costs from 2017-2019, 780 million baht is for land appropriation and 28 million baht has been set aside for project design.

The government will finance the basic infrastructure and land procurement while the private sector must cover equipment, management and maintenance work for the facility.

Management and maintenance costs for the Chiang Khong facility are estimated at 2 billion baht over a 30-year contract.

News Reporter

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