Eastern seaboard of Thailand
The eastern seaboard of Thailand is an emerging economic region and plays a key role in Thailand's economy. Its importance lies in the fact that it is Thailand's center for export oriented industries. High value goods, such as Japanese branded automobiles, which are manufactured there and shipped to other ports, are among the many exports. The region comprises Chon Buri Province, Chachoengsao Province, Samut Prakan Province and Rayong Province.
The rising economic importance of the region is evident through the central government's commitment to the region's infrastructure development. Planners see the region as strategically important as it borders the gulf as well as being close to Bangkok, and the airport.
Two large infrastructure projects worth a total of 36 billion baht, both railways, have been approved on October 23, 2007, to be built to railway links up from Korat and Lat Krabang with Laem Chabang port.
In addition, the Chon Buri Motorway, Thailand's first motorway, also links the region with Suvarnabhumi Airport and Bangkok. In November 2007, Thailand's completed its second motorway, Bangkok's Outer Ring Road.
The region is home to many huge industrial estates. Other than its manufacturing and shipping industries, it also has a diverse service sector consisting of the tourism, construction, and retail industries. Pattaya, the major tourist city, is also located here, and is only second to Bangkok in Thailand for the number of high rises. The region is also popular as a retirement area for foreigners.
However, development hasn't come without consequences. Serious problems resulting from pollution have plagued the Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate in Rayong, an industrial zone for petrochemical and heavy industries that has suffered from heavy metal and organophosphates poisoning. Factory workers in the region are among the highest paid in Thailand, often more than doctors in the region, but occasionally suffer physiological ailments. A lawsuit filed by local villagers in 2007 led to a cascade of decisions that in 2009 stopped work on many projects under construction, for not being in compliance with environmental provisions in the country’s new Constitution.
The region is looking forward to independence from Bangkok as a major regional center in its own right. Rail service from Bangkok terminates at Pattaya, but more importantly, bus services may bypass Bangkok to the north east and air service through U-Tapao International Airport is one of few that has direct service to Samui and Phuket by Bangkok Airways.
- Fuller, Thomas (December 18, 2009). "In Industrial Thailand, Health and Business Concerns Collide". New York Times. Retrieved 20 December 2009. "MAP TA PHUT, Thailand — Villagers here avoid walking in the rain because they say it burns their skin and causes their hair to fall out."
- Eastern Seaboard Development Program
- Eastern Seaboard Development Plan Social Impact Evaluation
- Blacksmith Institute Map Ta Phut