Bangkok (VNA) – Thailand’s cabinet on May 28 approved a draft contract worth 225 billion baht (7.07 billion USD) to build a high-speed rail connecting the country’s three major airports of Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-Tapao.
Leading Thai conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group is entering the railway business with help from China Railway Construction, starting with a planned high-speed link connecting three airports in the Bangkok area.
The consortium led by Charoen Pokphan (CP) Group is expected to sign the contract, proposed by the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Office, with the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) on June 15.
Under the contract, the SRT will pay 149 billion baht over a period of 10 years and the joint venture contract covers 50 years.
After that, the project would belong to the government, which is expected to receive a return on investment of about 300 billion baht, the Bangkok Post reported.
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.
The rail project is among five megaprojects under the EEC, along with the U-Tapao airport city project worth 290 billion baht, a 10.6-billion-baht maintenance, repair and overhaul facility, the third phase of Laem Chabang port of 114 billion baht and the third phase worth 55.4 billion baht of the Map Ta Phut port.
The CP Group’s CEO Suphachai Chearavanont said the high-speed train project will contribute to urban development and a fairer distribution
of wealth and income, adding the country will benefit from foreign investors bringing knowledge to local workers.
Meanwhile, local people affected by the project called on the government to reveal its details and allow them to give their input before the work begins.
The EEC is the Thai government’s flagship investment scheme, spanning the eastern provinces of Chon Buri, Rayong and Chachoengsao.