The Kra Canal. So What?


Image from Google Earth

Trade routes have always been a key feature of international relations. Since sea routes are still the most economical form of transport, nations are inevitably concerned with keeping them open, and keeping them safe. Where possible, nations will also try to have shortcuts so that the cost of transport goes down. The Panama Canal and Suez Canal obviated the need to go round Tierra Del Fuego and the Cape of Good Hope, respectively. Turkey as a nation is very important to Russia because she dwells astride the only route linking the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. In recent years, some attention has been given to the possibility of the northern Polar route linking East and West. Russia, of course, sits in the middle of all that. Another route being considered is that of the “Kra Canal.”

In Singapore, people have been talking about the possibility of a “Kra Canal” for many years, at least since I was in school. There seems to have been some concern that a “Kra Canal”, were one to be constructed, would enable shipping to bypass Singapore and therefore affect her revenues from that sector in no small way. I wonder what the possibility of that happening is, though.

Even if the cost of construction of the “Kra Canal” is deemed acceptable, would it really be worth the effort? The Panama Canal and Suez Canal shortened distances tremendously. The “Kra Canal” does not seem to offer much by way of shortening shipping routes. Even if it were constructed, how much would it impact Singapore’s income via trade? Yet there seem to be some concerns that it might affect Singapore’s revenues somewhat.

I say stop it. We need to adapt to the times and what is happening in the world around us. Things are changing and they are not going to go back to the bad old days. Who knows whether the old days were really the “good old days”, anyway? Singapore needs to actively find ways to make herself more valuable to the global economy, and that search has no end in sight. In the meantime, life goes on. Make every day count.

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