Thailand persuades China to build an electric train part factory along with its standard railway development in Thailand. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
The Transport Ministry has asked China to set up a factory to make electric train parts in Thailand as part of a bilateral deal to build double-track routes from the Northeast to central Thailand.
Transport Minister ACM Prajin Juntong said on Monday that Thai authorities tried to convince their Chinese counterparts during a Feb 11-13 meeting on the project to lay tracks from Nong Khai province to Bangkok and Rayong province.
The minister said both sides would discuss details of the factory project in meetings in April.
ACM Prajin said that both sides initially agreed that Thailand and China would jointly take responsibility for surveying, design and construction costs assessment with the project.
The 873-kilometre-long standard-gauge railway initiative is roughly estimated at 350 billion baht.
Thailand will be responsible for land expropriation, environmental-impact assessment, most public works, and the construction of service and cargo-handling stations and junctions.
China will design and install train-operating and signalling systems and handle the public works requiring special technology, such as tunnelling and hillside track construction.
As for train operations, ACM Prajin said China would run trains and depots initially because they would operate with its technology. Thai workers will learn train and depot operation from Chinese personnel before operations are transferred.
As for investment, Thailand will pay for most public works and China will cover track and signalling systems. Thai and Chinese companies will be matched to construct the railways.
The investment structure would be concluded in both sides’ meeting March 10-11.
The transport minister said that the interest rate on the Export-Import Bank of China loan for the project should be 2%.
Both sides will sign a memorandum of cooperation in April that sets all details of the railway project, ACM Prajin said.