China’s CRRC to supply Thai-Chinese joint rail project
China’s state-owned CRRC Corporation Ltd (CRRC Corp) will supply tracks, electronics, machinery and locomotives for the first phase of a Thai-Chinese rail project, according to a source at the Transport Ministry.
The source said the Chinese government, through its embassy in Thailand, has written to inform the ministry that it has assigned CRRC Corp to be the supplier of these core components of the project.
The body has also been asked to provide personnel training under so-called “contract 2.3”, which is worth an estimated total of 54 billion baht.
The contract forms part of the 179-billion-baht initial phase of the rail project to build a high-speed railway linking Bangkok with Nakhon Ratchasima.
The contract was given to CRRC Corp without bidding because it is a government-to-government (G2G) deal, according to the source.
However, the cost of supplies for the contract are subject to further negotiations between both sides. The 54 billion baht is an estimated figure.
The source said agencies have decided the money will come from domestic loans in Thailand, offered at favourably low interest rates.
Sourcing the loans locally benefits the banking system and could push up the deposit rate, a boon for bank customers, said the source.
As for the Pak Chong-Kanan Jit sector of the route spanning 11km, China has sent a blueprint and bidding is expected to be called after the Songkran festival in the next few weeks, when both sides are due to meet in Thailand.
The source said the meeting will likely cover ways of speeding up the design of the blueprints of the 119.5km Kaeng Khoi-Nakhon Ratchasima section as well as of the 119-km Bang Sue-Kaeng Khoi section.
It will also go through contract 2.3 in greater detail and put parts under a microscope, according to the source.
On March 22 it was reported the 3.5-kilometre pilot stretch of the Thai-Chinese railway in Nakhon Ratchasima will be 9% cheaper than its initial valuation of 398 million baht, said Thanin Somboon, chief of the Department of Highways (DOH).
While the State Railway of Thailand will be in charge of the line’s construction, Mr Thanin said the cost has since fallen to 371 million baht.
That reflects negotiations with China, which have led Thailand to use more locally produced materials to build embankments on the section.
The Transport Ministry commissioned the DOH to build the embankments without any bidding.