Bids set for four EEC megaprojects in short order

Bids set for four EEC megaprojects in short order

U-tapao airport is among the megaprojects approved for bids in the EEC. THITI WANNAMONTHA
U-tapao airport is among the megaprojects approved for bids in the EEC. THITI WANNAMONTHA

The administration committee for development of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) has decided to launch terms of reference (ToRs) for bids of four megaprojects worth a combined 372 billion baht.

Chaired by Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana, the committee approved four projects: the U-tapao airport (200 billion baht); a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) centre (11 billion); the third phase of the Laem Chabang seaport (150 billion); and the third phase of the Map Ta Phut seaport (11.1 billion).

The committee approved the details of the four projects' auctions and plans to propose them to the EEC Policy Committee for approve on Thursday. The cabinet is scheduled to hear the details on Oct 16.

Mr Uttama said these four projects are core infrastructure for the three EEC provinces and the government expects the ToRs to attract potential investors.

"The government insists the EEC scheme is running on track and the development policy will remain unchanged even as Thailand transitions to a general election in February, regardless of what a new government plans to do as administrative successor," he said.

"The EEC Act has already been implemented and this corridor is part of the 20-year national strategy plan."

Earlier the government launched ToR for a high-speed railway, linking Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-tapao airports, including the administration of Airport Rail Link, with a total value investment of 224 billion baht.

Mr Uttama said all four projects are in the form of a public private partnership (PPP). The government plans to spend 650 billion baht on these EEC-related infrastructures from a total investment budget of 1.7 trillion baht for the corridor during 2017-21.

Kobsak Pootrakool, the prime minister's office minister, said the government plans to have a 30% stake of each PPP contract.

"The government is committing to speed up the ToR launches for all EEC infrastructure projects by next February, and it wants to select all winning bidders and sign contracts for every project by 2019," he said.

Mr Kobsak said the Laem Chabang seaport phase three is scheduled to start operation in 2023, while the Map Ta Phut seaport phase three is set to begin operation in 2025.

The MRO centre, adjacent to U-tapao airport, is scheduled to start operations in 2022, while the U-tapao site is expected to begin full operations in 2023.

Kanit Sangsubhan, secretary-general of the EEC Office, said the administration committee has agreed to a budget of 17 billion baht for digital infrastructure and service projects from 2017-21 to serve the EEC scheme.

This project spans eight master plans that cover the digital realm, including the Digital Park Thailand (1.8 billion baht); advancing the big data, cloud and data centre development project (3.5 billion); an Internet of Things Smart City (815 million); a testing institution for 5G and related navigation infrastructures (310 million); the infrastructure, wiring harness fiberglass cable and i-Pole project (4.3 billion); and the Asean digital hub scheme (5 billion).

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