State Railway of Thailand calls for foreign-Thai JVs

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State Railway of Thailand calls for foreign-Thai JVs

FOREIGN CONSTRUCTION companies are welcome to join the government’s infrastructure projects as long as they find a Thai partner, according to the State Railway of Thailand.

SRT governor Wuthichart Kalyanamitra said yesterday that the authority was not preventing foreign firms from participating in the bidding for construction of the government’s investment projects, but they had to comply with Thai rules and regulations.

He told a seminar on the “Infrastructure Development Plan: Time Frame and Obstacles” that he wanted to see the foreign parent companies that were interested in joining the state’s projects, for example, set up joint ventures with Thai firms.

This was because most foreign companies have used a newly registered subsidiary to form a JV with a local firm.

Those JVs had less registered capital than the project’s value, so when something went wrong, the authority could not claim for damages from the foreign firms, he said.

The seminar was part of the SET Thai Corporate Day inbound roadshow organised by the Stock Exchange of Thailand in cooperation with CIMB Group.

The theme was “Driving the Economy with Sustainable Growth”.

SRT is pushing for six dual-track railway construction projects to be kick-started this year.

90percent single-track

The country has 4,000 kilometres of railroads, 90 per cent of which are single tracks.

Also under the government’s consideration are the Sino-Thai medium-speed rail project, three Japanese-Thai high-speed projects and extensions of the Red Line’s Bang Sue-Taling Chan and Bang Sue-Rangsit urban rail routes.

The projects under SRT’s undertaking will cost many billions of baht.

Peerayudh Singpatanakul, governor of the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand, said there were about 10 lines to be carried out.

The Purple Line Bang Sue-Bang Yai route is expected to launch services in August. Construction on the Blue Line extension is 72 per cent complete and on the Green Line extension 77 per cent complete.

Other lines such as the Orange, Pink and Yellow are being considered by the government for a public-private partnership (PPP) fast-track scheme that could help them start construction quicker, he said.

Wanchak Chayakul, director of the Highways Department’s planning bureau, said the department had three flagship projects under its responsibility.

Two were the extensions of the Bangkok-Pattaya motorway from Pattaya to Map Ta Phut and of the Bangkok-Bang Pa-In motorway from Bang Pa-In to Nakhon Ratchasima.

The last project is a four-lane highway for the Kanchanaburi-Bang Yai route, which will link Myanmar to Laos and Vietnam in the future.

“The extensions of the Bangkok-Pattaya and Bangkok-Bang Pa-in motorways are undergoing a feasibility study to be completed by the middle of this year,” he said.

The PPP scheme is also in its plan, he said.