China announces strategically important Kra Isthmus Canal in Thailand
The following is based on a translation from Chinese media:
It is an important project of China’s 21st century maritime Silk Road.
The canal will be 102 km long, 400 meters wide and 25 meters deep.
China says it will provide great economic gains for the countries that have to go through the Malacca Strait for their trade with the Middle East and Europe.
Canal planners say that, strategically, it is very important for China to get an alternative route for its energy and trade security, as India has control of the Malacca Strait.
China is also planning a road and rail route through Pakistan, also as an alternative for Middle East trade passing through the Malacca Strait.
Source: Sky News “Kra Canal with great strategic importance begins construction” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
- We spent s$4.1b for the 5km MCE because of the difficulty in constructing the 450m stretch below Marina Barrage. I doubt they can do it at this cost estimate.
- They still have to deal with the separatist in southern Thailand.
- I seriously doubt they can recoup the money even after 10 years of operation. Also, it doesn’t make sense because it saves only 1,500 nautical miles of sailing distance in relatively calm waters but not much time saved. Ships going through there will have to Q up to use the canal just like those going through Panama and Suez canal, which can take days at times when there’s a backlog. And believe me, short of a war there’s always a big Q.
- Whereas both the Panama and Suez canals saves shipping companies precious time (in some cases up to a week!) as well as more than 7,000 nautical mile each instead of going around the rough waters off of Cape Horn (in Chile, between the South Atlantic and South Pacific Oceans) and Cape of Good Hope (in South Africa, between the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean).
- Maersk Line, whom demanded PSA to reduce their port charges or they’ll migrated to Tg Pelepas (which they did), came back bcos the delay in clearing their cargos cost them more than any reduced charges they enjoyed there.I don’t think anybody in this world (other than the top 3 ports) can clear as fast as we can.Will Japan, Philippine and Vietnam boycott ships that are passing through China control Kra Canal? If yes, the connectivity of Kra Port will not be as good as Singapore.
- So Thailand is dumping USA for China. I can see Thailand buying China’s fighter jet soon.