Rail, port winners to ink contracts in July

Rail, port winners to ink contracts in July

New government to handle other projects

The high-speed rail project linking Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang and U-tapao airports and the third phase of Map Ta Phut port worth a combined 271 billion baht are scheduled to see the winning bidders sign contracts early next month.

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said on Monday that only two of the five megaprojects planned under the flagship Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) could be settled within this government, leaving the remaining three, worth 400 billion baht, to be handled by the new government.

The other three are the U-tapao aviation city; maintenance, repair and overhaul centre at U-tapao airport; and the third phase of Laem Chabang seaport.

Monday's EEC Policy Committee meeting chaired by Gen Prayut also ordered the State Railway of Thailand to deliver land plots to the winning consortium led by Charoen Pokphand (CP) Group as soon as possible in order to expedite construction.

The CP Group-led consortium includes China Railway Construction Corporation, Bangkok Expressway and Metro, Italian-Thai Development, Ch. Karnchang and Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corp for Transport and Urban Development.

"The 220km high-speed rail linking the three airports will be built largely on the existing rail, and the expropriation should be settled some time soon," Mr Kanit said, adding that the high-speed rail project also highlights the first cooperation between China and Japan in terms of investing in a third country.

JBIC will offer a loan to buy Hitachi locomotives, while China Development Bank will lend money to help build the rail link.

Raweewan Bhuridej, secretary-general of the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning, said the National Environmental Policy Committee mandated that the construction of high-speed rail linking the three airports reduce the impact on communities, schools and temples as much as possible.

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