The government of Thailand is aiming for completion of the Thai-Sino high-speed railway project, linking Bangkok and Nong Khai, a Thai province on the border with Laos, by 2023, so that it can connect to another fast rail project in Laos, the Laos-China rail link expected to be completed in 2021. The route will ultimately connect with Vientiane, the capital of Laos, starting from Na Tha station in Nong Khai's Muang district and passing over the new Thai-Lao friendship bridge.
Upon completion, the high-speed railway with an estimated cost of THB 110 billion (USD 3.5 billion), will reduce travelling time between Bangkok and Nong Khai to around 3 hours from the current 11 hours.
The project is divided into two phases. The first is a 253 km long section from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima, while the second phase will cover the 355 km from Nakhon Ratchasima to Nong Khai. Work on the first phase has been dvided into into 14 civil work contracts. Under the first contract worth THB 425 million (USD 13.3 million), construction started on a 3.5 km section from Klang Dong to Pang Asok in Nakhon Ratchasima's Pak Chong district and it is around 45% completed.
The second contract worth THB 3.1 billlion (USD 98 billion) covers an 11 km section from Sikhiu district to tambon Kut Chik in Sung Noen district in Nakhon Ratchasima. It was signed on 6 March and construction is expected to start in April. The remaining 12 civil work contracts for the first phase are expected to be signed in April.
(Sources: Bangkok Post; Eleven Myanmar)
Hutchison Ports Thailand, the leading port operator in the country, has announced an investment of USD 600 million for the Terminal D of the Laem Chabang Port, located in Chonburi. With one of the world’s first container terminals to be fully equipped with remote control technology for all of its quay cranes and yard side rubber tyred gantry cranes, The terminal will be the most advanced deep-sea container terminal in Thailand.
Terminal D is already handling some of the world’s largest container vessels currently in operation. On full completion, Terminal D will increase Laem Chabang Port’s container handling capacity by approximately 40%, aiming at making Thailand a global shipping hub.
An initial phase of Terminal D is now officially open for operations, offering a combined total of 400 meters of berth, 3 of the world’s largest quay cranes and 10 supporting rubber tyred gantry cranes. A further batch of 3 quay cranes and 10 rubber tyred gantry cranes arrived on 29 January 2019 and will be brought into operation over the course of the next months.
In November 2018, Hutchison Ports Thailand welcomed the largest ever container vessel to berth in Thailand by being the first terminal operator in the country to handle a container vessel with a length overall of in excess of 350 meters.
(Source: Hutchison Port)
The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) is still considering bids for a high-speed railway project connecting three major airports. So far the Charoen Pokphand Group (CP)-led consortium has offered the most competitive bid.
The CP-led consortium comprises CP, Bangkok Expressway and Metro Plc, China Railway Construction Corporation Ltd, Ch Karnchang Plc, and Italian-Thai Development Plc. The other group is BSR Joint Venture which is made up of Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc, Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction Plc, and Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Plc.
When the bidding was announced, 31 potential investors bought the terms of reference document. Based on technical qualifications and track record, only two groups are qualified to bid for the rail link project connecting Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airports in Bangkok with U-Tapao airport in the eastern province of Rayong. The other group bidding is BSR Joint Venture which includes Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc, Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction Plc, and Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Plc.
The build-operate-transfer project, which is a key part of the planned Eastern Economic Corridor, is valued at USD 7 billion and comes with a 50-year concession. The bid winner will be awarded a 50-year contract, consisting ot five years for design and construction of the rail link project and 45 years for operations.
(Sources: Bangkok Post; The Nation)
Thailand’s Board of Investment (BOI) has launched an investment incentive scheme aimed to increase investors' confidence related to the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC). New incentives apply for the U-Tapao Airport’s Passenger Terminal 3 and Digital Park Thailand (EECd) development projects, two among six major development projects in the EEC.
With the biddings for the development of both projects planned for late 2018, BOI has offered the incentive scheme to attract more investors to participate in the biddings. For the U-Tapao Airport’s Terminal 3 development project, the bidding winner will be granted exemption of import duty on machinery and 8-year corporate income tax (CIT) exemption. In case the developer has cooperation with an educational institution to develop human resources, the BOI will grant 50% reduction of CIT for another three years under the EEC investment incentive scheme.
Concerning the bidding winner of the Digital Park Thailand or EECd, BOI will grant import duty exemption on machinery and CIT exemption for eight years. The investment project including cooperation with the educational institution to develop human resources will enjoy an additional four-year tax holiday.
The U-Tapao Airport’s Terminal 3 is part of the Aerotropolis development project, which includes the construction of a USD 7.1 billion (THB 233 billion) Passenger Terminal 3 which will increase the airport’s passenger handling capacity from 5 million passengers to 22 million passengers in 2033, and increase flight handling capacity from currently 25,000 units per year to 120,000 aircraft per year by 2033. When completed, the project will cover additional passenger terminals, cargo zone, cargo & logistics village, commercial gateway, MRO zone, and the aviation training center.
Other infrastructure development related to the EEC includes the construction of the USD 6.8 billion (THB 224 billion) high-speed train linking the three airports -- Don Mueang Airport, Suvarnabhumi Airport and U-Tapao, the USD 4.7 billion (THB 155 billion) development of Laem Chabang Port Phase 3 which increases container throughput from 7.7 million TEUs per year to 18.1 million TEUs per year, and USD 306-million (THB 10.1 billion) Map Ta Phut Port Phase 3 which be able to handle 19 million additional tons of cargo (petrochemicals and natural gas) upon completion. The development of U-Tapao Airport, high-speed train, Laem Chabang Port, Map Ta Phut Industrial Port and MRO Center are included in the Public-Private-Participation (PPP) fast track program which shortens bidding process from 40 months to 8-10 months.
(Sources: Thailand Business News; Board of Investment, Thailand)
In October 2018, the Thai government launched the USD 1.4 billion Thailand Future Fund Infrastructure Fund (TFFIF) opening it up to potential investors through a public listing. The fund is expected to attract half of its investment from retail investors.
The fund's aim is to invest in long-term projects including expressways or toll roads, railways, electricity generation and distribution, airports and deep seaports.
The launch of the long-delayed infrastructure fund is meant to provide a fundraising alternative and reduce dependency on debt for the Thai government's infrastructure projects.
Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith told Reuters in June that Thailand was seeking USD 40 billion from private investors to upgrade its rail and road network.
Funds raised from the offer will be used to build the Chalong Rat Expressway and Burapha Withi Expressway, which will be owned by the Expressway Authority of Thailand. 45% of the revenue from the expressways for 30 years will be allocated to the fund. The fund's annual investment return is projected at 3-4%.
J.P. Morgan Securities Plc and Merrill Lynch, Phatra Securities, Finansa Securities and Krung Thai Bank are the bookrunners for the listing.
(Source: Bangkok Post; Channel NewsAsia)
PTT, a Thai state-owned oil and gas company, is discussing with potential partners a joint bid for a USD 7-billion high-speed train project, whose aim it to connect three major Thai airports, namely Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports and U-Tapao airport in Rayong. This initiative is to be considered in the context of the government-backed Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) plan.
The EEC is US$52 billion plan to modernize the infrastructure and the industries of the strategic provinces of Rayong, Chachoengsao and Chon Buri.
Around 31 firms, mostly from Thailand, China and Japan, are reportedly studying the project’s terms.
PTT is the largest Thai company by market value. The company seems poised to make its first investment in railways. It said running a train line would help it cut logistical costs and allow its retail business to expand before it floats on the Thai stock exchange in 2019.
(Source : ASEAN Economist)
In August 2018 the Thai cabinet approved a 323 km double-track rail route from Den Chai to Chiang Khong in the North. The construction will link four provinces, namely Phrae, Lampang, Phayao and Chiang Rai, and have 26 stations and four tunnels. The line is expected to be operational by 2023 and about 5,600 commuters are expected to use the route on a daily basis.
According to Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, railway transportation will play an important role in northern economic development. He said this project, in particular, would make Chiang Rai the logistics hub of the region.
"The government wants to see more investment in rail infrastructure, 90% of which is still single-track routes," Natthaphon Jatusripitak, an adviser to the Prime Minister's Office, said after the cabinet meeting. Under the single-track system trains running in both directions have to share the line, but with dual tracks, the trains are not required to wait for their turn to move.
The dual rail project is part of the USD 2.5 billion infrastructure development plan (2015-2022) to connect Phrae, Lampang, Phayao and Chiang Rai provinces.
(Sources: International Railway Journal; Bangkok Post)
Two companies from France, namaly Transdev Group and SNCF Group, are exploring the possibility to set up a business partnership with Charoen Pokphand Group for the high-speed railway connecting three airports,. The project, which includes the management of the Airport Rail Link, is worth of 224 billion THB (5.7 billion EUR).
Transdev, which is an international private operator of public transport, and SNCF, a state-owned railway, have recently met with the Thai government's team in Paris in order to express their intentions regarding the flagship Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) scheme.
The Thai representatives also had meetings with the French tyre maker Michelin Group, as it wants to expand its aviation tyre operations into the EEC.
Over the past 10 years, 190 projects by French businesses worth EUR 625 million were granted investment privileges by the Board of Investment, confirming the attractiveness of the Thai market for French companies. Tellingly, French President Emmanuel Macron has recently accepted an invitation to take part in the ASEAN Summit meeting to be held in Thailand in 2019.
(Source: Bangkok Post)
Thailand is leading the creation of a regional infrastructure fund together with Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, to reduce dependence on investment from China, as well as South Korea, Japan and India.
China has been boosting infrastructure investment in the region as part of its global Belt and Road Initiative. According to Xinhua, At the second Lancang-Mekong Co-operation Summit in January this year, China pledged preferential loans of CNY10 billion (USD 1.5 billion), an USD 5-billion special loan on production capacity cooperation and another UISD 5 billion preferential export buyers' credits to support infrastructure and production capacity cooperation in the five countries along the Lancang-Mekong river (Lancang is the Chinese name for the Mekong). The infrastructure investments often involve an exchange of land concessions and development rights.
This new fund proposed by Thailand is expected to be operational by 2019 and Thailand plans to contribute a substantial amount. The fund will also raise funds through the stock and bond markets, such as by issuing debt for power generation projects. Contributions from financial institutions and countries outside the ACMECS (Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy) framework are also welcome.
The fund will be managed jointly by the member countries. The proposed fund will be used for projects which form a part of ACMECS' 2019-2023 master plan adopted during this year's summit in June. Focus areas of the plan include enhancing connectivity among the five countries by upgrading the East-West and North-South economic corridors. The five nations will also work together to develop information technology platforms to be financed by the fund.
(Sources: Nikkei Asian Review, Reuters, Xinhua)
The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) has pledged that it will extend loans to finance Thailand's 224.54 billion baht (USD 7 billion) high-speed railway, whose aim is to link three major airports and other infrastructure projects in the government's highly touted Eastern Economic Corridor.
The government of Thailand will develop the railway engaging private actors under public-private partnerships. The government will pay 3.57 billion baht (USD 111 million) for land appropriation and 108.33 billion baht (USD 3.4 billion) over 10 years after the trains commence operations.
The winner of the bidding process is expected to be announced in November.
The entire route of the railway is set to cover 220 kilometres, with a maximum speed of 250km per hour. It is the first time that Japan has agreed to cooperate with other partners for the development of the high-speed rail network.
Mega infrastructure projects and development of the EEC are key government strategies to transform the country's economy. Other than the Bangkok-Rayong high-speed train system linking three airports, infrastructure projects related to the EEC include the improvement of U-Tapao International Airport to make it an aviation hub of the region; the development of Laem Chabang Deep-Sea Port and Mab Ta Phut Port Phase 3; and the development of Eastern Economic Corridor of Innovation (EECi).
(Sources: Bangkok Post, Thailand Board of Investment)
The Thai government has announced that it will build 2,506 km high-speed railways linking northern Chiang Mai, northeastern Nong Khai, southeastern Rayong and southern Padang Besar with the capital by 2036.
The Bangkok-Nong Khai high-speed rail project is Thailand's first high-speed railway under Thailand-China cooperation.
Thailand's master plan of high-speed railways comprises of four projects in the first period from 2017 to 2021, including a 253-km first phase of China-Thailand cooperation project, the high-speed rail between Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima, a 355-km second phase from Nakhon Ratchasima to Nong Khai on the Thai-Lao border, a high-speed rail linking Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang and U-Tapao airports and its further extension to Rayong, and a 380-km Bangkok-Phitsanulok high-speed rail. The master plan is set to cost the country about USD 50 billion.
(Source: Xinhuanet News)
The THB 200 billion (USD 6.4 billion) high-speed rail project linking three key airports in Thailand was approved by the country’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Committee. The project will link the Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang and U-Tapao airports in Thailand.
This airport high-rail project is part of the USD 45 billion project in the Eastern Economic Corridor, located in the country’s industrial east, geared toward boosting infrastructure and attracting more investment into Thailand.
The government plans to provide tax breaks for investors in the EEC project, a centerpiece of the military government’s policy to boost growth and target investment into hi-tech industries. It also enables investors to rent land for up to 99 years.
(Source: Channel NewsAsia)
Thailand’s largest container terminal operator Hutchison Ports Thailand received delivery of 3 units of remote control quay cranes (RCQC) and 8 units of remote control electric rubber-tyred gantry cranes (RCRTGC) from Chinese heavy equipment manufacturer Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industry Co. The cranes will become operational at Phase 1 of Terminal D in Laem Chabang Port after a period of testing. Hutchison Ports Thailand is the first terminal operator in the country to deploy both the RCQC and RCRTGC.
The Rail Mounted Quay Cranes will be among the largest quay cranes currently in operation around the world and have a 63 meter outreach from the quay. This will enable these cranes to handle some of the largest ocean-going vessels currently in operation. The RCRTGCs are designed to handle 6 high container stacking in the yard. On full completion of all phases of Terminal D, the facility will be one of the largest remote control operated terminals in the world. Following the completion of Terminal D’s construction, Hutchison Ports Thailand will be able to increase its handling capacity by 3.5 million TEUs to more than 6 million TEUs, further cementing its position as the largest container terminal operator in Thailand.
The arrival of the new cranes is expected to facilitate the growth of Thailand’s container cargo volumes and help the country’s modernization aligned with the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) project under the Thailand 4.0 scheme.
(Sources: Hutchison Ports Thailand; Port Technology)
Japanese conglomerate Marubeni Corp has stated that it will undertake a joint feasibility study with Thailand’s national petroleum and petrochemical company, PTT Pcl, that aims to implement LNG refueling to ships in Laem Chabang Port, the largest industrial port in Thailand.
According to Marubeni, the collaboration to start the LNG bunkering project is the result of the upcoming IMO regulation in 2020 on curbing sulphur emissions from ships. In Laem Chabang Port, where more than 8,000 ships arrive and leave annually, a third expansion plan is being implemented, given that the demand for LNG bunkering is expected to grow in this area due to increased exports and the tightening of environmental regulations.
South East Asia has decreasing upstream oil reserves and is now looking to LNG to meet its rising domestic energy demand. Thailand is an emerging LNG importer and the country aims a sevenfold increase of its LNG import volumes to 35 mta by 2036.
(Sources: Marubeni; Green Port)
The Thai Government has announced that four light rail projects, worth a combined EUR 4.1 billion, will begin construction in 2018. The projects are cornerstones of the Transport Ministry’s 2018 infrastructure plan, and part of the wider ‘Thailand 4.0’ smart cities initiative to integrate digital technology, energy efficiency and sustainable transport. The four cities that have been selected for the construction of light rail projects are Phuket, Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen and Nakhon Ratchasima. All the projects will involve public-private partnership programs, within the context of the Transport Ministry’s transport infrastructure plan.
The feasibility studies for Phuket and Chiang Mai have been already completed. The first will involve 60 km light rail with 23 stations, and will require an estimated investment cost of EUR 617 million. For Chiang Mai there are two options; a 35km A route or a 40.57 km B route. The Khon Kaen light rail project is at the stage of conducting environmental impact assessment. The Transport Ministry has already completed a design for Nakhon Ratchasima’s light rail project, worth an estimated EUR 385 million.
(Source: Railway Pro Communication Platform)
Thailand is speeding up its key infrastructure developments in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) in order to accelerate investment in the new industrial zone. There is also an added urgency to rev up planned projects as the current government has only about a year left in office. There are expectations that three priority projects will call for bidding on construction this year. The three highly prioritized projects include Laem Chabang port, an aircraft repair and maintenance center and Bangkok-Rayong express railway. Details of the projects are as follows:
The Agriculture Ministry’s THB 17.6 billion (USD 527 million) plan to build flood control canals in Ayutthaya to help limit the effect of massive flooding and economic losses in the central region has been approved by the cabinet.
The plan includes the construction of a 23-kilometer canal from Bang Ban district to Bang Sai district, a two-lane road along both sides, sluice gates and other structures. Its primary function is to divert floodwater away from inner parts of Ayutthaya at 1,200 cubic meters per second. The canal would have a holding capacity of 25 million cubic meters and it could also serve as a water resource for local villagers.
It is expected that the project design and land acquisition will be completed in 2019, after which the entire project will be submitted to the cabinet for approval.
Apart from the Bang Ban-Bang Sai canal, other water management plans for Ayutthaya and nearby provinces were also discussed. There are salty water problems in Nakhon Pathom, Samut Sakhon, and Samut Songkhram as well as recurring floods in many areas.
(Source: Travel Wire)
Rail technology leader Bombardier Transportation has announced tht it has won two contracts for its BOMBARDIER INNOVIAMonorail 300 system for two mass rapid transit lines in Bangkok, which is expected to improve the commute for more than 400,000 people every day. The contracts are with the Northern Bangkok Monorail Co. Ltd. (NBM) and the Eastern Bangkok Monorail Co. Ltd. (EBM), responsible for the turnkey construction and 30-year concession of the new, elevated lines.
Bombardier will design and supply the mechanical & electrical elements for the two monorail lines, and deliver a combined total of 72, fourcar INNOVIA Monorail 300 trains (288 cars) equipped with BOMBARDIER CITYFLO 650 automatic train control technology for driverless operation. The contract with NBM concerns the new 34.5 km Khae Rai-MinBuri (Pink) Line to operate with 42 trainsets. For EBM, scope comprises 30 train sets for the 30.4 km Lat Phrao-Samrong (Yellow) Line. Furthermore, the contracts include providing the project management, systems engineering and integration, testing and commissioning for the new trains and systems.
(Sources: Bombardier; Global Rail News)
The planned 84-kilometer double-track railway system from Hua Hin to Prachuap Khiri Khan has attracted 13 companies to submit applications with qualifications and technical proposals in a bid to spearhead the construction project. The 13 companies include Unique Engineering and Construction Plc, Italian-Thai Development Plc, TBTC Joint Venture Co, Ch Karnchang Plc, KSS Joint Venture, Ch Tawee Construction Co, Serm Sangsuan Construction Co, Thai P-Con Civil Joint Venture, Power Construction Technology Co, SHPS Joint Venture, Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction Plc, PPD-EMRAIL JV and A.S. Associate Engineering 1964 Co. The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) is yet to announce the qualified bidders before proceeding to the actual bidding. The five double-track railway project is worth THB 95.8 million (USD 2.8 million) and is aimed to encourage Thai commuters to use the railroad service as a means of transportation.
(Sources: Railway Pro; Bangkok Post)
The funding has been approved from Thailand’s cabinet for a construction of the first phase of a THB 184.55 billion (USD 5.5 billion) high-speed railway project, linking Thailand’s industrial eastern seaboard with southern China. The first stage of this project consists of 250 km run between Bangkok and northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima. After that, the track will be extended to Nong Khai on the border with Laos. While Thai firms will be responsible for construction, China will take care of the railway technology, signal systems and technical training.
(Sources: Channel News Asia, Reuters, NDTV)
It has been outlined by Deputy Prime Minister that most of the THB 2.4 trillion (USD 70.28 billion) worth of infrastructure projects that are planned for the coming years could be called for bid within the tenure of the current military-led regime. This is a necessary step to enhance transportation links with neighboring countries to make Thailand a regional hub.
While the Pink Line project’s Khae Rai-Min Buri section and the Yellow Line project’s Lat Phrao-Samrong section have been signed, the bidding would soon be open for the Red Line from Salaya to Hua Mak, the western Orange Line from Taling Chan to Thailand Cultural Center (Ratchada) and the southern Purple Line from Bang Yai to Ratburana. Additional bids will also be called for five double-track railway systems in the second half of 2017.
(Source: The Nation)
Aiming to boost the economy by financing more investment projects, Thailand’s cabinet approved a THB 100 billion (USD 2.93 billion) infrastructure fund which is expected to be launched by the third quarter of 2017, after a series of delays in the fund’s launch. The “Thailand Future Fund” was first announced in 2015. The Finance Minister claimed that fund would sell units to Thai and foreign investors, with a return likely at 7% - 8%.
(Sources: Reuters, The Times of India)
Thailand’s tourism industry is facing challenges as the annual tourists visits are set to reach 60 million by 2030, against 16 million in 2011. The country needs to upgrade, invest and expand its existing facilities including the ports, airports and railways in order to accommodate for an explosive growth of visitors coming into the country, especially the newly wealthy Chinese. Tourists from mainland China accounted for nearly 50% of the rise in visitor arrivals from 15.9 million in 2010 to 32.9 million in 2016. The government authorities realize this issue and will be pushing for financial capital to upgrade the infrastructure.
(Sources: Financial Times, Travel and Tour World)
The Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Committee has approved to put 6 infrastructure projects valued at about THB 600 billion (USD 17.57 billion) on the government’s PPP Fast Track scheme. This means that the approval processes for private participation will be shortened from 20 months to 9 months.
The projects under this scheme include the Purple Line’s THB 131 billion (USD 3.84 billion) extension from Tao Poon to Kanchanaphisek ring road, the THB 195 billion (USD 5.71 billion) east-west Orange Line in Bangkok, the THB 39.4 billion electric railway in Phuket, the THB 80 billion (USD 2.34 billion) Nakhon Pathom to Cha-am intercity motorway, the THB 152 billion (USD 4.45 billion) Bangkok-Rayong high speed railway and an electric railway in Chiangmai province.
(Sources: Bangkok Post, The Nation)
A fast rail link connecting Bangkok to China via Laos is the anchor project of Thailand’s Belt and Road-related infrastructure and this project has been under negotiations for quite some time due to the disagreement between China and Thailand regarding several issues. Nevertheless, in September last year, both parties have reached an agreement on the first phase of the project, which will begin later this year.
The value of this projected is estimated at THB 500 billion (USD 14.44 billion) and it is a key element of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The proposed first phase of the project is a construction of a 256 km high-speed railway link from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima province, which is expected to take 3 years to complete. The second phase is a 2-year construction project of a 355 km rail link from Nakhon Ratchasima to Nong Khai province, a northeast Thai city bordering Laos. Once the line is completed, it will directly connect to the China-Laos railway. This will allow travellers to get to Vientiane, the capital of Lao from Bangkok within 4 hours. From Vientiane, travellers can move on to Kunming, the capital of China’s Yunnan province.
The third phase of this project is a construction of a 246.5 km line linking Saraburi provinces in central Thailand and Rayong province on the east coast of Thailand. In a long-run, there will be a line extended to the south providing connections to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
The Thailand-China railway is a THB 1.9 trillion (USD 55.64 billion) project that is scheduled to be completed by 2022. This project will help Thailand with its infrastructure development strategy and it also will help the country to reach its goal of establishing itself as the key strategic and logistics gateway to the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).
(Sources: HKTDC Research, The Nation)
Public infrastructure is driving Thailand’s construction market as the government is focusing on the development of a robust transportation system. Thailand’s current construction market is estimated to be valued at USD 41.1 billion last year, making it one of the most attractive markets for contractors in South East Asia. Out of the total value of the country’s construction market, USD 23.4 billion comes from the public sector, which is more than half. This is due to the government’s plan to improve the country’s transportation system, particularly Bangkok’s mass rapid transit line. In addition, the government has given an approval to develop Eastern Economic Corridor, which focuses on construction of transport infrastructure, sea, and rail. As a result, this will further support Thailand’s position as a major economic zone in ASEAN.
(Sources: Thailand Business News, Royal Thai Embassy)
THB 895.8 billion (USD 23.23 billion) worth of infrastructure action plan for 2017 has been approved by Thailand’s cabinet. This plan includes 36 infrastructure projects, covering rail, roads, air transport and ports throughout the country. As asserted by the Vice Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, the government’s priority is investment in the country’s infrastructure. Bids are expected to open for 15 Bangkok railway routes next year, while construction of 5 other projects including airport expansions and highway projects should start in 2017. The projects will be financed by THB 576 billion (USD 16.87 billion) loan and the rest will come from government budget, public-private partnerships and an infrastructure fund.
(Sources: The Star Online, Reuters)
The Thai Ministry of Transport and the German Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure have signed a joint declaration of intent (JDI) on further cooperation in the development of railways. The signing of the JDI demonstrates the intention and determination of these 2 countries to work together and share experience in the development and extension of their rail systems. Furthermore, the JDI indicates that these 2 countries will exchange best practice polices, train railway experts, researchers and technicians.
(Sources: Railway Pro, The Nation)
Thailand has various rail transport projects coming up over the next decade and some of these projects are conducted in partnership with Japan. Not only is Japan supporting the expansion of Thailand’s railway network, it is also exploring potential rail links to neighboring countries.
In early August, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Thai and Japanese government for a 670 km high-speed railway between Bangkok and Chiangmai, the northern city of Thailand after the completion of feasibility studies. The cost of this project was estimated by the media at around THB 430 billion (USD 12.59 billion). Upon finalizing the project details, a report will be submitted to the Cabinet for approval in October, the earliest.
Feasibilities studies are currently being conducted by Japanese companies for rail projects aiming to connect Thailand with neighboring countries including Myannmar, Laos and Cambodia. Furthermore, Japan takes part in supporting Bangkok’s mass rapid transit system through new commuter railways and extensions of older ones.
In late March, a contract was signed between the Thai government and several Japanese companies including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, multinational conglomerate Hitachi and trading firm Sumitomo to install electrical and mechanical systems for the Bangkok Metropolitan Rapid Transit’s Red Line, which is an elevated 40 km commuter railway. The Red Line is scheduled to be completed in 2020 with an estimated cost of THB 32.4 billion (USD 948.7 million) and it will link between Bangkok’s northern and western areas.
(Sources: The Borneo Post, ASEAN Briefing)
Thailand’s military government has budgeted USD 40 billion to spend on big investment projects to help boost the economy, however, less than 1% of the amount has been spent.
One example is a jointly-built Thai-Chinese rail line. After 13 bilateral meetings, there is no progress on the project due to disagreements over cost, financing and land rights. Furthermore, 20 proposed big projects have been approved to build by 2022 which is estimated to value at THB 1.41 trillion (USD 41.29 billion). However, only THB 11.3 billion or 0.8% of the total has been paid out by August this year.
The World Bank asserted that these delays are caused by many factors including unclear appraisal process, slow procurement and lengthy environmental impact assessment and approval.
(Sources: Reuters, South China Morning Post)