BANGKOK –Thailand plans an auction in June for a high-speed rail project to link the country’s three major international airports, with Germany’s Siemens and Bombardier of Canada regarded as two of the leading potential bidders.
The 220km route would connect Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang and U-Tapao airports, in the first large infrastructure project under Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor investment zone. The project, estimated to be worth 225 billion baht ($7.07 billion), would shorten logistics travel time between Bangkok and the corridor to within one hour. Siemens and Bombardier have already set up offices here ahead of the bidding, which could also draw Asian multinationals.
The high-speed rail link represents the first of five huge infrastructure projects the Thai government has aimed to start since the EEC law was enacted early this year. Bangkok hopes to boost confidence among foreign investors on the corridor’s progress.
The contract is to be awarded this year and construction is to begin in 2019.
The other big infrastructure projects are expanding the Laem Chabang and Map Thaput deep sea ports, developing the U-Tapao commercial airport and building maintenance facilities near the airport through a joint venture between Airbus and Thai Airways International. All five will be financed through a mix of public and private investment.
Tourism accounts for 12 percent of Thailand’s economy, with the country expecting 37.55 million arrivals this year, up 6.1 percent from 2017.