Cabinet to give nod to draft rail deal

Cabinet to give nod to draft rail deal

Suvarnabhumi airport will have a rail link to connect with Don Mueang and U-tapao airports in the future.
Suvarnabhumi airport will have a rail link to connect with Don Mueang and U-tapao airports in the future.

The cabinet is set to approve a draft joint venture contract for the 225-billion-baht high-speed train development project linking Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-tapao airports at its meeting on Tuesday.

Kanit Sangsubhan, secretary-general of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Office, said once approved by the cabinet, the contract will be signed by June 15 between State Railway of Thailand (SRT) and the winning consortium led by the Charoen Pokphand Group.

The draft contract was endorsed on Monday by the EEC committee meeting chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

The CP Group-led consortium comprises China Railway Construction Corporation, Bangkok Expressway and Metro, Italian-Thai Development, Ch. Karnchang, Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corp for Transport & Urban Development, Citic Group, Siemens, Hyundai and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.

Mr Kanit said the high-speed rail linking the three key airports will be the first EEC infrastructure project to begin construction.

Acting SRT governor Worawut Mala said the contract could be signed after the completion of an environmental impact assessment, which is expected to finish before June 15.

"The contract between SRT and the winning consortium is open to amendment later if the situation changes, such as rising inflation," he said.

The EEC committee also approved a renegotiation of the third phase of Map Ta Phut port. Last Tuesday, the cabinet dismissed a proposal by the EEC Office and Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand to reduce returns on investment for bidders for the third phase of the Map Ta Phut deep-sea port.

Map Ta Phut port is one of five megaprojects under the flagship EEC scheme. The auction attracted 18 companies to buy bidding envelopes, but only one bidder, a consortium led by PTT and Gulf Energy Development, qualified for all the criteria to bid on the third phase of Map Ta Phut port, worth 55.4 billion baht.

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