DLT about to seal Chiang Rai depot deal

DLT about to seal Chiang Rai depot deal

Private outfit to run facility over 30 years

The Mae Sai - Tha Kee Lek checkpoint is a popular border crossing for both Thai and Myanmar citizens to conduct trades and tourism businesses.  (Bangkok Post file photo)
The Mae Sai - Tha Kee Lek checkpoint is a popular border crossing for both Thai and Myanmar citizens to conduct trades and tourism businesses. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The Department of Land Transport (DLT) is expected to sign a contract with a private firm to supply equipment, operate and maintain a border cross-docking centre later this month, a senior official says.

DLT deputy director-general Kamol Buranapong said Samprasit Partnership recently won a bid to run a freight station worth 2.37 billion baht in Chiang Rai's Chiang Khong district.

The bid result has been forwarded to the Transport Ministry for comments from relevant agencies before it can be submitted to the cabinet, he said.

Mr Kamol said the cross-docking facility requires cabinet endorsement because the project value exceeds one billion baht. A contract is expected to be signed this month after the cabinet's approval.

"The Budget Bureau is asking the DLT to speed up disbursement of funds for the 2016 fiscal year. The Chiang Khong facility is the department's project which the government is pushing," he said.

The Chiang Khong facility is expected to be fully operational in 2020.

The scheme is divided into two phases, the first of which has received a budget of 1.4 billion baht while funding for the second phase worth 650 million baht is yet to be allocated.

Mr Kamol said the Chiang Khong depot will be operated under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) scheme under which the contractor is allowed to operate for a minimum of 30 years.

The government will finance basic infrastructure and land procurement while the private sector will invest in equipment, management, and maintenance of the facility. However, the revenue-sharing options are not yet finalised.

Management and maintenance costs of the Chiang Khong facility during a 30-year contract are estimated at two billion baht, or 66.6 million baht annually. Incomes throughout 30 years are estimated at 2.4 billion baht, or 80 million baht annually.

The Chiang Khong depot is among 19 national freight terminal projects with eight located in border areas and the rest in provincial hubs aimed to link up land freight transport across the country.

The other border cargo terminals are scattered throughout the country in provinces including Nakhon Phanom, Tak, Nong Khai, Mukdahan and Sa Kaeo.

Mr Kamol said bidding for the freight depot in Nakhon Phanom worth 1.24 billion baht is unlikely to proceed as planned this year due to land appropriation problems.

The freight depot in Nakhon Phanom was proposed as a PPP scheme to the State Enterprise Policy Office (Sepo) with the bidding expected to take place later this year.

The DLT deputy chief said some land owners do not allow officials to enter their plots which are earmarked for land appropriation for evaluation, delaying the issuance of a decree on land appropriation.

However, he said the project design has been completed and will be submitted for budget allocation next year. Of the project cost, about 860 million baht will be used to fund construction and another 350 million baht will be paid for land appropriation.

Freight transport is on the increase with Thailand holding strategic importance in the region.

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