The vast majority of container traffic already goes through the port of Laem Chabang which is Thailands largest port. The port of Laem Chabang has been a huge catalyst for economic development alongside the eastern seaboard, and as such has spurred on the continued growth of industry in nearby industrial parks. Since local industry is a major employer of people in and around the region the importance of the port of Laem Chabang cannot be overstated.
The container port of Laem Chabang has already gone through numerous phases of expansion since it’s inception back in 1991 and presently has the capacity to handle more than 7,700,000 twenty foot equivalent (TEU) containers making it the 22nd biggest port in the world. In terms of container traffic, the port is fast approaching full capacity and is in need of further expansion to cope with the ever increasing demands placed on it by local industry in the nearby industrial estates.
A local article in the Pattaya Mail newspaper purportedly claims that the Deputy Minister of Transport, Mr. Pichit Akrathit has discussed the need for a third phase expansion of the port with private interested companies who are of the opinion that the investment scheme to expand the port may start as late as 2025.
The Deputy Minister of Transport then went on to explain that a Environmental Health Impact Assessment (EHIA) which will take roughly 2 years would need to be done first followed by the construction of basic infrastructure, such as the excavation of navigation canals and land reclamation which is expected to take approximately 4 years to complete. Once these matters have been resolved, the authorities can then go on to select the companies who’ll be responsible for construction, operations and the procurement of machinery needed to complete the third phase expansion, which is anticipated to take a further 3 years to complete. The Deputy Minister is confident that there will be some overlapping schedules along the way and that the entire process from start to finish shouldn’t take more than 8 years to complete.