CP consortium to build high-speed airport rail link
The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has finally decided to grant the concession for the 220 billion baht high-speed rail project linking three major airports to the consortium led by Charoen Pokphand Group (CP).
The decision followed 14 hours of negotiation, and it is hoped the contract will be signed on June 15.
The consortium submitted the lowest bid for the line linking Don Mueang airport in Bangkok with Suvarnabhumi in Samut Prakan and U-Tapao in Rayong.
At this point, the date for the contract signing will be June 15, acting SRT governor Worawut Mala said on Thursday night after the two sides adjourned a 14-hour meeting to tie up loose ends.
According to Mr Worawut, the SRT is confident that it will be able to meet a May 15 deadline for submitting the draft agreement to its board of directors.
The draft agreement will then be forwarded to the cabinet for approval on May 28, prior to the signing on June 15, he said.
Before Thursday's meeting, there were about 60 minor points which both sides could not find common ground on; but at the end of the meeting, only 10 points of contention remained, he said.
These points dealt with risks such as if the SRT was to fail to fulfil the agreement to hand over land to the consortium for the construction, he said.
The consortium had initially insisted that in such a scenario the SRT would have to both extend construction time and pay financial compensation to the consortium, he said.
In the end, the consortium bowed to the SRT's position and agreed that only time compensation would be required, he said.
Meanwhile, SRT deputy governor Ek Sittivaekin gave an update on the financial compensation the SRT will have to pay Hopewell (Thailand) Co for scrapping a mega-transport project 20 years ago, saying the total amount is 25 billion baht and the SRT will ask the government and the Transport Ministry to help settle the payment.
The Supreme Administrative Court on April 22 ordered the SRT and the Transport Ministry to pay 11.88 billion baht in compensation at a 7.5% accrued interest rate for the 20-year period within 180 days.