Mass transit lines lure Bombardier's interest
Gold, Pink and Yellow lines to see investment
Canadian company Bombardier is keen to invest in monorail projects in major cities as the government revs up development in several provinces, including Chiang Mai and Phuket.
After meeting with Donica Pottie, Canada's ambassador to Thailand, Kobsak Pootrakool, the minister to the Prime Minister's Office, said Bombardier indicated intent to invest in three Bangkok mass transit lines -- the Pink Line (Khae Rai-Min Buri in eastern Bangkok), the Yellow Line (Lat Phrao-Samrong in Samut Prakan), and the Gold Line monorail system linking Krung Thon Buri skytrain station with Prajadhipok Road.
Bombardier has invested in Thailand for 30 years to supply signalling and operation equipment for electric rail.
Mr Kobsak said plans are afoot for the government to develop monorail projects in major provinces to reduce traffic congestion.
Last September, the cabinet approved a royal decree that would enable the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) to oversee construction of urban mass transit projects in Chiang Mai, Phangnga and Phuket worth a combined 50 billion baht.
The projects will operate under the fast-tracked public-private partnership (PPP) scheme.
The cabinet also approved a royal decree in December to allow the MRTA to implement an electric rail or tram in Nakhon Ratchasima.
The cabinet also approved a master plan for a 50.09-kilometre light rail project in Nakhon Ratchasima with three routes -- Green (11.17 kilometres and an extension of 12.12km), Orange (9.81km and an extension of 5.37km) and Purple (7.14km and an extension of 4.48km).
The project, worth 32.6 billion baht, will be implemented under the PPP scheme and is expected to begin operations within five years.
Mr Kobsak said Celestica, the electronic parts manufacturer, intends to expand manufacturing to the Eastern Economic Corridor.
He said he also persuaded Canada to partner with Thai educational institutes to develop human resources for targeted industries that are seeing high demand in Thailand.
Two-way trade between Thailand and Canada in 2017 amounted to US$2.21 billion (69.7 billion baht), down by 1.33% from $2.24 billion in 2016.