Bangkok: Not for the first time Thai authorities are looking at building a potentially hugely significant port at Pak Bara. The port on the Andaman Sea could cut transit times from Asia to Europe. The idea is to connect the port in Satun province by road and rail to another deepsea port in Songkhla province by the Gulf of Thailand, allowing ships to avoid the longer route via the Strait of Malacca.
Over the years there have been countless similar proposals on this part of southern Thailand.
In 1677, the Siamese King Narai suggested excavating a canal across the Kra isthmus to facilitate trade. Since then many others have pushed for a similar canal. Now, however, Thailand's military junta has given in-principle approval for the Pak Bara port and multimodal links – not a canal – across to the Gulf of Thailand. [08/09/14]