The backers of the Kra Canal are stepping up marketing, rebranding the centuries-old project as the Thai Canal and will highlight the waterway’s potential benefits next month at a specially convened conference in Bangkok.
Thailand’s King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL) and the Thai Canal Association for Study and Development (TCA) will hold a get together to discuss the canal on September 11. The groups are clearly looking to get China interested in the expensive project as part of Beijing’s One Belt, One Road spending spree, linking it to the ‘Maritime Silk Road’ in marketing the venture.
In August, TCA tried to persuade Thailand’s prime minister to approve a feasibility study on the canal. The group believes the canal plays into China’s One Belt, One Road infrastructure spending between Asia and Europe.
Plans to create a waterway through southern Thailand’s isthmus were first mooted in 1677. The 135 km long canal would link the South China Sea with the Andaman Sea and provide an alternative to the Malacca Strait. Every few years the infrastructure project reappears in the headlines, normally shot down due to its prohibitive costs.