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Thailand Inland Waterways
Sources: The Library of Congress Country Studies; CIA World Factbook
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    Historically, about 4,000 kilometers of inland waterways consisting of the rivers and canals of the central plain and the Chao Phraya Delta formed the backbone of the transportation system. Although in the twentieth century railroads and roads assumed a dominant position in the central plain, waterways still carried a sizable portion of the total traffic. Waterborne freight, chiefly consisting of rice, accounted for about 17 percent of total freight transported countrywide in the 1980s. Large numbers of small craft also transported passengers. During the rainy season about 1,600 kilometers of waterways were navigable by barges of up to 80 tons and 1.8-meter draft, which could travel from the Gulf of Thailand to as far north as Uttaradit. Navigation was reduced to about 1,100 kilometers of waterways in the dry season, and traffic could navigate only to Nakhon Sawan, roughly halfway to Uttaradit. Shallow-draft vessels could navigate the interconnected network of canals throughout the year, and Bangkok, Ayutthaya, and other towns had floating markets where a great deal of trading activity took place. Some sections of the Mekong River were also navigable.

    Data as of September 1987

    NOTE: The information regarding Thailand on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Thailand Inland Waterways information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Thailand Inland Waterways should be addressed to the Library of Congress and the CIA.

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Revised 12-Nov-04
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