Eastern Economic Corridor

The Eastern Economic Corridor (Abrv: EEC; Thai: ระเบียงเศรษฐกิจภาคตะวันออก, romanized: Rabīang Sētthakit Phāk Tawan-ǭk, RTGS: rabiang settha kit phak tawan ok) officially the Eastern Special Development Zone (ESDZ), is a special economic zone of three provinces in eastern Thailand. Collectively, these provinces occupy an area of 13,266 km2 (5,122 sq mi), and in 2016 had an estimated population of over 2.8 million.

Eastern Economic Corridor
Special Economic Zone
Eastern Special Development Zone
romanisation:Khēt Phathanā Phisēt Phāk Tawan-ǭk
(clockwise from upper left) View of Pattaya skyline, Wat Sothonwararam main hall, Sanctuary of Truth, Phra Abhimani and the mermaid of Ko Samet, and Ganesha of Wat Saman Rattanaram
The Prime Gateway to Asia[1]
Coordinates: 15.18493°N 120.5394°E / 15.18493; 120.5394
RegionEastern Thailand
3 provinces
Largest city
by population
Before establishmentEastern seaboard
NCPO head order17 January 2017
ESDZ act15 May 2018
Governing bodyEastern Special Development Zone Policy Office
  TypeSpecial economic zone
  SecretariatKanit Sangsubhan
  Total13,266 km2 (5,122 sq mi)
  Density220/km2 (580/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+7 (ICT)

The zone was established on 17 January 2017, at the direction of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), with the mission of promoting economic integration across the (Eastern seaboard).[2] The first law of the EEC is the Eastern Special Development Zone Act, proclaimed on 15 May 2019.[3]


The Eastern Seaboard Development Programme (ESDP) was initiated as part of the Fifth Economic and Social Development Plan of Thailand (1982–1986).[4] It aimed at developing the region of the eastern seaboard in order to promote industrial growth and to decentralize economic and population growth.[5] The Thai government approached the World Bank for funding, but was turned away as, in the eyes of the bank, the project lacked "economic rationality".[6] Japan rescued the project by providing a modest 178.8 billion yen (US$1.6 billion) in loans, underwriting the construction of 16 projects: ports, roads, waterworks, and industrial parks. Japanese companies then invested heavily in the region. As of 2020, many of the estimated 5,500 Japanese companies in Thailand have facilities in the area.[6]

After the 2014 coup, the NCPO announced the creation of a special economic zone (SEZ) called the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) with a budget of 1.5 trillion baht (US$43 billion) over its first five years.[7] It is a key component of the "Thailand 4.0" economic policy announced in 2016.[8] As of 2017, the prime minister had invoked the special powers of Section 44 of the interim charter to revoke city plans in three provinces to remove obstacles to EEC development.[9] Planners see the region as strategically important as it borders the gulf as well as being close to Bangkok, and two major airports.

Administrative divisions

The economic zone includes three principal provinces and two peripheral provinces.

Member provinces
Seal Flag Province Capital Accession Population
Area Population
Chachoengsao Chachoengsao 17 January 2017 715,009 5,351 km2
(2,066 sq mi)
(350/sq mi)
Chonburi Chonburi 17 January 2017 1,535,445 4,363 km2
(1,685 sq mi)
(910/sq mi)
Rayong Rayong 17 January 2017 723,361 1,568.737 km2
(605.693 sq mi)
(1,190/sq mi)
Bangkok Associated Area 10,820,921 1,004 km2
(388 sq mi)
(27,910/sq mi)
Samut Prakan Samut Prakan Associated Area 1,326,608 1,004 km2
(388 sq mi)
(3,420/sq mi)

Governing body

The Eastern Special Development Zone Policy Office (ESDZPO) is the governing body of the Eastern Economic Corridor. It is an independent public agency, reporting directly to the prime minister. It was established on 15 May 2019 by the Eastern Special Development Zone (2018) Act and replaced the Eastern Economic Corridor Office.

EEC Secretariat

The EEC Secretariat is headed by the Secretary-General of the Eastern Economic Corridor.

Secretaries-General of the Eastern Economic Corridor
No.NameTook officeLeft officeNotes
1Kanit Sangsubhan17 January 2017


The EEC had a 2013 GDP of US$158.79bn (on a purchasing power parity basis), and US$63.76bn (on a nominal basis), about 15% of Thailand's GDP.[11]


Ten key industries have been identified as potential growth engines for Thailand. These 10 industries are divided into two larger groups as follows:[12]

  • First S-curve industries : Next-generation automotive; intelligent electronics; advanced agriculture and biotechnology; food processing; high wealth and medical tourism
  • New S-surve industries : Digital; robotics; aviation and logistics; comprehensive healthcare; biofuel and biochemical

Promotional zones

The EEC Policy Committee approved promotional zones in two categories:[13]

  • Special Services Promotional Zones : Implementation of infrastructure and technological development
  • Industrial Promotional Zone : To better facilitate the development of 10 targeted industries

Special services

Zone Type Governing agency Status Area Location Province Ref
EECa Aerotropolis Royal Thai Navy Declared 10.4 km2
(4.0 sq mi)
U-Tapao International Airport Chonburi, and Rayong [14]
EECd Space krenovapolis Ministry of Digital Economy and Society Declared 1.28 km2
(0.49 sq mi)
Digital Park Chonburi [15]
EECh High-speed rail State Railway of Thailand Declared 1.3712 km2
(0.5294 sq mi)
Eastern high-speed railway Bangkok, Samut Prakan,
Chachoengsao, Chonburi,
and Rayong
EECi Aripolis, and Biopolis National Science and Technology Development Agency Declared 5.6 km2
(2.2 sq mi)
Wang Chan Valley Rayong [16]
EECmd Comprehensive healthcare Thammasat University Planned 0.4256 km2
(0.1643 sq mi)
Thammasat University Pattaya Chonburi [17]
EECgenomics Genomics Burapha University Planned 0.0592 km2
(0.0229 sq mi)
Faculty of Pharmacy, BU Chonburi [18]


Zone Type Governing agency Status Area Province Ref
HESIE 4 Robotics and next-generation automotive WHA Corp Declared 3.2 km2
(1.2 sq mi)
Rayong [19]
Smart Park Robotics, logistics, medical Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand Declared 2.3456 km2
(0.9056 sq mi)
Rayong [20]
Ban Pho Plant Next-generation automotive Toyota Motor Thailand Planned 0.8032 km2
(0.3101 sq mi)
Chachoengsao [21]
Map Ta Phut Biofuel and biochemical Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand Planned 11.54888 km2
(4.45905 sq mi)
Rayong [22]
Asia Asia Industrial Estate Food processing Planned 5.152 km2
(1.989 sq mi)
Rayong [23]

Public transport


U-Tapao International Airport

The Eastern Economic Corridor is served by U-Tapao International Airport, one of three main commercial airports of Thailand. As Bangkok's two international airports are operating beyond capacity, the government intends to turn U-Tapao into a third major destination for airlines. A new second terminal, which will increase airport capacity from 800,000 to three million persons per year. Terminal 2 was partially opened in November 2018 and was officially opened in February 2019.[24]

There are also 41 direct flights landing from China weekly[25] with more airlines scheduled to announce soon. Airport director, Rear Adm Worapol Tongpricha, said the 620 million baht terminal is the start of a three-year, first-phase development. In the second phase, the government will boost the capacity further to 15 million people.[26]


Makkasan Station is one of fifteen eastern high-speed rail stations.

The Eastern Economic Corridor is served by the State Railway of Thailand's (SRT) Eastern Line. The main stations are Chachoengsao Junction railway station and Chon Buri railway station.

A high-speed rail line is planned to serve the EEC. The Don Mueang–Suvarnabhumi–U-Tapao high-speed railway will connect Don Mueang International Airport, Suvarnabhumi Airport and U-Tapao International Airport. On 24 October 2019, a 224.5 billion baht (US$7.4bn) contract was signed by the Thai government and a consortium led by Charoen Pokphand Holding to build the railway. The consortium includes Charoen Pokphand (CP); Ch. Karnchang PLC (CK); Bangkok Expressway and Metro PLC (BEM); Italian-Thai Development PLC (ITD); and China Railway Construction Corporation Limited (CRCC). The 220 kilometre line will consist of 181 kilometres of elevated track, eight kilometres of underground track, and two kilometres of surface track. Construction of the rail line will begin 12 to 24 months from the date of contract signing. Trains on the route will operate at maximum speeds of 250 kmph. The consortium will have the right to operate and manage the rail line for 50 years after which project assets will revert to the government.[27]


Laem Chabang Port

A passenger-only ferry service from Pattaya to Hua Hin began operation on 12 January 2017 and is operated by Royal Passenger Liner.[28] By road, the journey takes five to six hours. The ferry shortens travel time to about two hours, subject to sea conditions. The ferry cruises at 27 knots on the 113 km journey across the Gulf of Thailand with a maximum passenger capacity of 150 persons. Larger ferries carrying up to 260 people may be added to the service later. Ferries capable of carrying vehicles are projected for 2020.[29]

The Eastern Economic Corridor is served by two ports: Laem Chabang Port and Map Ta Phut Port. Laem Chabang Port is main international port from its opening in 1991. It is Thailand's largest port. The port occupies 2,572 acres (1,041 ha) and is capable of handling the largest (Post-Panamax) vessels.[30]

Health, education and research

The EEC is home to Burapha University, Amata University (EEC campus of National Taiwan University), CMKL University (Carnegie Mellon University), and Asian Institute of Hospitality Management (Les Roches International School of Hotel Management, Switzerland). The University of Tokyo (Japan), Kyoto University (Japan), Waseda University (Japan), Hohai University (China), Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and the Auckland University of Technology plan to open campuses in the EEC.[31][32]


  1. "Corporate Identity". Eastern Economic Corridor Office. www.eeco.or.th. Retrieved 15 December 2019.
  2. คำสั่งหัวหน้าคณะรักษาความสงบแห่งชาติที่ ๒/๒๕๖๐ เรื่อง การพัฒนาระเบียงเศรษฐกิจพิเศษภาคตะวันออก ราชกิจจานุเบกษา เล่ม ๑๓๔ ตอน ๑๙ ง พิเศษ หน้า ๓๐ ๑๗ มกราคม ๒๕๖๐
  3. พระราชบัญญัติเขตพัฒนาพิเศษภาคตะวันออก พ.ศ. ๒๕๖๑
  4. Kri-aksorn, Thammachart (5 May 2020). "EEC (3): Influence of Chinese Concepts on Thai Economic Development". Prachatai English. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  5. "The Fifth National Economic and Social Development Plan". Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  6. Takahashi, Toru (16 November 2019). "Thailand's iconic railway project set to deepen economic divisions". Nikkei Asian Review. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  7. Villadiego, Laura (23 July 2017). "THAILAND CHASES CHINESE MONEY, BUT AT WHAT COST?". South China Morning Post (SCMP). Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  8. Hall, Tom (29 October 2017). "Empowering ASEAN exhibitions". Exhibition World. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  9. Rujivanarom, Pratch (30 October 2017). "Critics slam NCPO order suspending city planning". The Nation. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  10. "ร่ยงานสถิติจำนวนประชากรและบ้านประจำปี พ.ศ.2561" [Statistics, population and house statistics for the year 2018]. Registration Office Department of the Interior, Ministry of the Interior. stat.bora.dopa.go.th (in Thai). 31 December 2018. Archived from the original on 2 April 2019. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  11. "Gross Regional and Provincial Product, 2013 Edition". Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB). April 2015. ISSN 1686-0799. Retrieved 16 July 2016.
  12. "Targeted Industries". Eastern Economic Corridor Office. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  13. "Overview of the Promotional Zone". Eastern Economic Corridor Office. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  14. "U-TAPAO Airport And Eastern Airport City Development" (PDF). Eastern Economic Corridor Office. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  15. "DIGITAL PARK THAILAND" (PDF). Eastern Economic Corridor Office. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  16. "Wang Chan Valley" (PDF). Eastern Economic Corridor Office. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  17. "EECmd" (PDF). Eastern Economic Corridor Office. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  18. "EECgenomics" (PDF). Eastern Economic Corridor Office. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  19. "HESIE4" (PDF). Eastern Economic Corridor Office. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  20. "Smart Park" (PDF). Eastern Economic Corridor Office. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  21. "Ban Pho Plant" (PDF). Eastern Economic Corridor Office. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  22. "Map Ta Phut" (PDF). Eastern Economic Corridor Office. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  23. "Asia" (PDF). Eastern Economic Corridor Office. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  24. "Terminal 2 at U-Tapao airport to be fully opened in February". The Nation. 8 November 2018. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  25. http://www.utapao.com/%5B%5D
  26. "U-Tapao airport takes new leap". Bangkok Post. 21 June 2016. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  27. "Thailand signs $7.4bn high-speed train project agreement". Railway Technology. 25 October 2019. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  28. Royal Passenger Liner
  29. "Pattaya-Hua Hin ferry to begin on New Year's Day". Bangkok Post. 13 November 2016. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  30. "Information". Laem Chabang Port. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  31. "Les Roches Global Hospitality Education". Ministry of Education. 5 January 2019. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  32. "ดึงญี่ปุ่นตั้งมหาวิทยาลัย เปิดหลักสูตรในอีอีซี". bangkokbiznews. 15 March 2019. Retrieved 17 December 2019.

Further reading

This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.