High-speed airport link auction shapes up

High-speed airport link auction shapes up

An Express train pulls into the maintenance depot of SRT Electrified Train Co (SRTET), which runs the current Airport Rail Link. (File photo by Patipat Janthong)
An Express train pulls into the maintenance depot of SRT Electrified Train Co (SRTET), which runs the current Airport Rail Link. (File photo by Patipat Janthong)

The terms of reference (ToR) for the 224.54-billion-baht high-speed railway linking Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-tapao airports to serve the much-touted Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) scheme are scheduled to be unveiled today.

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said interested private firms will be allowed to buy the ToR next week after today's joint announcement by the EEC Office, the Transport Ministry and the State Railway of Thailand.

Participants are scheduled to submit their bidding prices over the next couple of weeks, and the winning bidders may be announced by July.

The railway project entails extending Bangkok's Airport Rail Link, which runs to Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan province, to connect to Don Mueang airport in northern Bangkok and U-tapao airport in Rayong province.

The entire route will stretch 220km, with the train reaching a maximum speed of 250kph.

The route comprises nine high-speed stations: Don Mueang, Bang Sue, Makkasan, Suvarnabhumi, Chachoengsao, Chon Buri, Sri Racha, Pattaya and U-tapao.

The project is expected to become operational in the next five years.

Industry Minister Uttama Savanayana said bidding will next be called for the third phase of Laem Chabang port and the expansion of U-tapao airport.

Wichayayuth Boonchit, deputy secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB), said the EEC will be instrumental in boosting private investment this year.

The investment applications submitted to the BoI in the first quarter covered 366 projects, up 27% from 288 projects in the same period last year, with investment worth 205 billion baht, up 247% from 59.1 billion baht.

Investment in the EEC during the first quarter totalled 160 billion baht covering 66 projects, up from 59 projects worth 12.34 billion baht in the same quarter of 2017.

The BoI is aiming for 720 billion baht in investment applications this year, up from 640 billion last year, with investment applications in the EEC targeted at 300 billion baht, up from 290 billion.

Meanwhile, SET-listed BTS Group Holdings (BTS) chairman Keeree Kanjanapas said Wednesday the firm was ready to take part in mass transit system bidding.

The group's bid will be submitted through BSR Joint Venture, a consortium of BTS (75%), Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction Plc (15%) and Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Plc (10%).

BSR joint venture last year won the operating rights for the Pink Line and Yellow Line monorail (Lat Phrao-Samrong).

"[The high-speed railway] is a major transport project needed to facilitate the EEC," Mr Keeree said. "We've thoroughly studied [it] and we're ready to participate."

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