Located on the west coast along the Andaman Sea, and the least-populated province in Thailand, Ranong has set a target to become an export center in the Andaman Sea, linked with neighboring countries.
Ranong Port Manager Pitayan Dejarat said that Ranong is now ready to accommodate large cargo ships, after the dredging of its water channel was completed in October 2013.
The deep-sea port in Ranong will facilitate shipping to other BIMSTEC countries, without passing through the Malay Peninsula. BIMSTEC, or the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, comprises seven member countries, namely Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal, and Bhutan.
Mr. Pitayan also said that, since late 2013, Thai-Myanmar trade across the border in Ranong has been on the rise. The development of the Ranong Port has opened up a gateway for shipping more Thai products to foreign countries.
Ranong Governor Cherdsak Jampates pointed out that Ranong is stepping up efforts to promote border trade in preparation for the arrival of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015. Four development strategies have been set for Ranong in 2014.
They involve logistics infrastructure development, the establishment of a special economic zone, a border market and duty-free shops, the expansion of border checkpoints, and the development of personnel to equip them with language skills. Preparations are also underway to expand trade cooperation with BIMSTEC.
In February 2014, Ranong province and Kawthaung in Myanmar jointly organized a trade fair to promote relations between the two countries. Kawthaung, which is also known as Ko Song and Victoria Point, lies just a few kilometers west of Ranong. The fair took place in the compound of the Memorial to King Bayinnaung in Kawthaung.
A four-lane road, with a length of 120 kilometers, is being built, linking Ranong with Chumphon province. It will be completed in early 2017 and will facilitate goods transportation, which will help reduce production costs.
The Ranong Governor said that the Ranong Provincial Administrative Organization and the Tourism Authority of Thailand will jointly organize a tourism festival from 22 to 30 March 2014 to make the province better known among tourists.
During the period, visitors to Ranong will be encouraged to visit and bathe at the Ranong Mineral Hot Springs. The three hot springs, east of Ranong, are among the major tourist attractions in this province. The festival also features a fair of indigenous food and a bazaar of community products, under the “One Tambon, One Product,” or OTOP, program.