The Thai government is planning to build four high-speed rail lines linking Bangkok with the northern city of Chiang Mai, the Laotian border, the industrialised eastern seaboard and Malaysia, effectively joining all corners of the country. Thailand’s infrastructure plan aims to reduce the ratio of logistics costs to GDP by 2% from its current 15.2%, increase the speed of non-high-speed trains and boost the percentage of freight carried by rail from 2.5 to 5. Meanwhile, reopened to help relieve congestion at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Don Mueang Airport is also overcrowded, handling 16m passengers a year despite its capacity for 10.5m. The renovation of the airport’s second terminal will boost capacity to at least 20m. Located at the centre of the ASEAN Economic Community, which is due to take effect from December 2015, Thailand is positioning itself as the regional transport hub. It is opening transfer depots and centres in anticipation of an increase in trade, while shipping is also set to benefit. Vast improvements to neglected areas of the country’s infrastructure are also important for Thailand’s future economic wellbeing, irrespective of the AEC.
This chapter contains interviews with Chadchart Sittipunt, Minister of Transport; Sorajak Kasemsuvan, Former President, Thai Airways International; and Prapat Chongsanguan, Governor, State Railway of Thailand.