EABC urges European rail tech standards

EABC urges European rail tech standards

Higher level saves on costs in long term

The European Association for Business and Commerce (EABC) has urged the Thai government to adopt European industrial standards, especially for railway technology, saying it would save costs in the long term.

Georg Wolff, EABC's rail and road infrastructure working group chairman, said demand for public transport in Thailand, especially the rail system, had risen significantly and the government should adopt effective and widely accepted European technology.

"Europe has a long history and lots of experience in developing railway systems. It also has a large number of experts to lend support to developments in Thailand," said Mr Wolff.

He said Thailand normally focuses on construction costs for its major infrastructure projects, but the government should pay more attention to post-construction costs such as maintenance because high maintenance costs can worsen operations for the project over the long term.

"Adopting European standards will ensure maintenance during the lifetime of the system will be low," said Mr Wolff.

He also suggested that Thailand adopt a wider rail gauge of 1.4 metres rather than the 1-metre-wide rail gauge currently in use to make the new railway compatible for linking to regional rail systems in the future.

Mr Wolff also recommended the authority set up expert committees to supervise standards for rail system development in Thailand.

"The recent error on the Airport Rail Link is a great example of the lack of proper maintenance that the government should look into," he said.

Rolf-Dieter Daniel, president of the EABC, said the association will continue prodding the Thai government to liberalise the country's services sector and facilitate foreign investors by easing the process of obtaining work permits. He said liberalisation of the service industry will attract a higher level of foreign direct investment to Thailand that could increase the GDP by at least 7-8%.

"A lot of European businesses are reluctant to come here because of restrictions on work permits and visas for foreigners, especially small businesses, who may have a limited budget and time for such matters," said Mr Daniel.

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