The Kunming-Bangkok expressway is expected as an important infrastructure in
this region. This logistics infrastructure functions as a land bridge between China and
the ASEAN countries, particularly in Thailand. Once the project is fully functional,
significant impacts can be anticipated, such as shifts of transportation mode, short and
long term of economic and cultural changes. A schematic model is presented in this
paper as a schematic decision making tools for evaluating transportation mode and route
selection. This model is grounded on Stochastic and Analytical Heretical Process (AHP)
techniques. The dimensions of cost, time, and reliability of service are integrated as key
performance indices of the logistics systems. Each business type has different kinds of
requirements. The results show this expressway will be a major logistics channel
between Thailand and the Southern part of China.
Historically, the flows between Kunming and Bangkok have been recognized. However, traveling on the Mekong river was very rare at that time. People rather connect one and other by sea or air travels. The highland geology and political differences are the main obstructions (Berman, 1989). Improving the logistics infrastructure between these two cities has been a dream of many people in this region for a longtime. The Kunming-Bangkok expressway is expected to be the first importance jigsaw of logistics breakthrough.
Figure 1: Overall Asian Highway routes (United Nation, 2001)
The Kunming-Bangkok expressway involves four counties, such as the People's Republic of China, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Thailand. It stretches south from Kunming to Jinghong and traverse the border at Jinghong into Laos. It crosses through highlands in southern Yunnan and Laos before entering Thailand, in which it continues southward until it reaches Bangkok. This expressway is a part of Asian Highway project (initiated in 1959, that has a main goal for the integrated Asian Land) (United Nation, 2001). Asian Development Bank (ADB) plays a main role in initiating and supporting this project in several forms (e.g. loan offering and cross-border transport agreement coordinating). It is expected to open in year 2008. The significant impacts can be anticipated, particularly in transportation mode and route. Therefore, this expressway is a part of whole scheme of globalization. This study reviews the basic characteristics of these infrastructures and also develops a schematic model to approximate behaviors of goods flows via different perspectives of demand types. “The Kunming-Bangkok expressway will create major change in this region in both economic and social paradigms” is set as a hypothesis of this study.
Figure 2: The Kunming-Bangkok expressway
The Kunming-Bangkok Routes :
To connect Kunming and Bangkok within the continent, the Kunming-Bangkok
routes are necessary. The Kunming-Bangkok expressway is referred as the last of the
three routes that enables this integration. There are the follows: (Figure 2 and 3)
1) Bangkok- Chiang Rai-Mai Sai-Keng Tung-Mong La-Menghi-Yunjinghong-
2) Bangkok- Chiang Rai-Chiang San-Mekong River-Yunjinghong/Kuanlei-
3) Bangkok- Chiang Rai-Chiang Khong-Luang Namtha-Boten-Mohan-
Figure 3: Alternatives Routes between Thai and China
The Bangkok-R3W-Kunming Route :
The first Kunming-Bangkok route starts from Bangkok to Chiang Rai, running on the 830 km. four lane highway, which is the main north-south highway of Thailand. Then, it goes from Chiang Rai to a Thai’s border town, named Mai Sai, on the 60 km. four lanes highway. After that, it passes a border bridge to a Myanmar’s border town, named Tachilek, which is the starting point of a major highway named R3W(R3B). This first part of R3W locates in Myanmar. This section is two-lane two-way 253 km, starting from Tachilek to Keng Tung, and to Mong La. Although, the construction work is completed, the quality is still under the standard of international highway. However, small to medium trucks are capable of transporting via this route (see Figure 4). This route is on the Wa state in Myanmar. There are several fee stations for collecting transit taxes along this route. Especially on the section of Tachilek to Keng Tung, most taxes belong to the company that built the road.