The Cross Gulf Ferry Agreement A ‘Done Deal’ or Work In Progress?

The Cross Gulf Ferry Agreement A ‘Done Deal’ or Work In Progress?
The Cross Gulf Ferry Agreement A ‘Done Deal’ or Work In Progress?

Reports of the long-awaited ferry link between Hua Hin and ports across the Gulf of Thailand have suggested that a proposal has been accepted and to quote one media source: “It’s all systems go for the Pattaya to Pranburi ferry.”

Hua Hin Today is always eager to provide the latest news on this very important subject. We can confirm that at least one proposal has been formulated, although it remains a proposal. This information has been confirmed directly with the Siam Eastern Logistics Terminal Co., Ltd, the company concerned. The company has revealed its plan for the East-West Ferry project, linking Bang Pu and Pattaya to Pranburi, saying the 15 billion THB investment would have a multiplier effect for the Kingdom’s economy. “Now we are ready to invest in the project, and a number of local and foreign firms have expressed interest in joining us,” said Peerapong Prasopsukcharoen, Development and Planning Manager. Our question to the company was: “Is this proposal waiting for a government response before commencement or has an agreement already been made?”

This was answered by Yuraphan Sripitak, Sales & Marketing Manager: “Waiting for government approval and then we will process as plan.” (sic) Some Background: In April 2015 the Transport Minister ACM Prajin Juntong instructed the Harbour Department to speed up the design and study of a project to build ferry piers to link three seaside towns of Pattaya, ChaAm and Hua Hin. Prajin said he wanted the study to be done as soon as possible because the ferry piers would link the two sides of the sea, boosting tourism and the economy and trade in Pattaya, Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan.

He also said Siam Eastern Logistic Terminal Company had expressed its interest to invest 4 billion THB for the project. Hua Hin Today has now been provided with a 48 page proposal which is in line with the Minister’s comment. This appears to place the Siam Eastern Logistics Terminal Co., Ltd in the frontline for the cross-gulf ferry to become a reality although some caveats related to the need for government support remain. About The Proposal: The project concept is to connect Pattaya to Hua Hin, Samut Prakan to Hua Hin, and Samut Prakan to Pattaya.

Phase two described future routes to Koh Chang, Koh Samui, Surat Thani and the deep-sea port of Songkhla. The ferry port servicing Hua Hin is proposed to be at built at Pranburi, about 12 km from Hua Hin. This is in contradiction to previous reports which name Puktien (north of Cha-Am) as the most likely Hua Hin port. The proposal states: There is a very high need from tourists to travel to Pattaya and Hua Hin throughout the year, noting the proximity of Samut Prakan to Suvarnabhumi International Airport. Land travel from Pattaya to Hua Hin must be pass Bangkok and takes about 5-6 hours (430 km.) but travel by high speed ferry, will be about 2 hours and with a distance of 110 km. Land travel from Samut Prakan to Pattaya is about 150 km, but by sea is only 68.6 km or 2 hours. Land travel from Samut Prakan to Hua Hin is about 310 km, but by sea is only 152 km also taking 2 hours.

The connection from Bang Pu Port (Samut Prakan) to Suvarnabhumi Airport is about 27 km, to Samut Prakan city about 22 km, and to Bangkok about 46 km. The distance from the Pattaya port to Pattaya City is about 12 km. The likely benefits to flow from the project are described as economic (including ancillary businesses and employment opportunities) valued at not less than 16,500 million THB per year. Additionally the project provides for an interconnecting and convenient transport system for an estimated 3,000,000 travellers (foreigner 60% and Thai 40%) and 220,000 cars each year. About The Ferry Mid-sized catamaran ferries of 120 deadweight tons are proposed. Each would have capacity to carry up to 400 passengers, 30 cars, 12 motorcycles, and shipments not exceeding 40 tons. At full load, the ferry would have a 2.1-metre draft.

Sixteen daily trips for the PattayaPranburi route, and 20 for the PranburiPattaya route are envisaged. The ferry fare would be around 1,000 THB per trip for passengers, and 3,000 THB per car for the Pattaya-Pranburi route. Ferry speeds of around 45 knots or just over 80 kph. This is only a brief ‘snapshot’ of the full 48-page proposal which also addresses infrastructure needs, port and terminal construction issues, environmental concerns, safety and staffing arrangements amongst a plethora of broad considerations. Whether the proposal is accepted, modified or an alternative proposal surfaces remains to be seen. However, it is evident that the Siam Eastern Logistics Terminal Co., Ltd is very interested.