Incentives extended for Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) three airport link rail line builder

Construction News
An artist’s rendering shows a station on the planned rail link to three airports including U-tapao in the Eastern Economic Corridor.

Incentives extended for Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) three airport link rail line builder

Amid concerns about slow progress, CP-led consortium needs encouragement to get back on track

The Board of Investment (BoI) has agreed to extend new privileges to the builder of a high-speed railway linking three airports, in a fresh effort to unlock the 224-billion-baht transport infrastructure project in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).

Past investment incentives provided to Asia Era One Co, the consortium led by the Charoen Pokphand Group, expired on Jan 22.

The company’s request for an extension to May 22 was earlier rejected by the EEC Office and the State Railway of Thailand (SRT), which said slow progress on the project was threatening to affect infrastructure development and investor confidence.

However, after talking with Asia Era One executives and meeting with EEC and SRT representatives, officials resolved to grant the renewal.

“The company showed us a clear development plan and intention to push ahead with the project,” said Narit Therdsteerasukdi, the BoI secretary-general.

BoI officials gave Asia Era One the four-month extension because they want the company, the EEC Office and the SRT to cooperate in completing the project, he said.

Asia Era One is asking the government to pay the company for ongoing construction work without waiting for certain parts of the rail system to be finished, which is a condition stated in the contract.

“The company needs time to find a solution for this contract condition,” said Mr Narit.

The BoI believes the investment promotion extension will give the company, the EEC Office and the SRT enough time to solve the problem together.

Negotiations to change parts of the contract will not affect the company’s right to ask for investment privileges, he said.

The rail system, which is scheduled for completion in 2027, is to link Don Mueang airport in northern Bangkok, Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan and U-tapao airport in Rayong, covering a distance of 220 kilometres.

The project is expected to be a key transport system linking the EEC and nearby provinces.