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Old October 3rd, 2012, 09:13 PM   #201
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Siemens hones in on Thai market Bangkok mass transit bids are key lure

Published: 1/10/2012 at 02:31 AM

Thailand was listed as one of six high-potential countries for investment by Siemens AG, the German industrial giant, which is pinning its hopes on more rail projects being launched this year.

Anthony Chay, chief executive of Siemens (Thailand) Ltd, said Thailand is among the Second Wave Emerging Countries (SEWEC) along with Vietnam, Indonesia, Mexico, Turkey and South Africa. Siemens operates in 192 countries.

The first wave is the BRIC countries: Brazil, Russia, India and China.

The second-wave markets are expected to drive growth for Siemens in the future, Mr Chay said.

"We see potential in these markets over the next 20 years based on population, urbanisation, and the political and economic situation including GDP growth," he noted.

Mobility is likely to play a greater role in these countries and infrastructure will be developed, so Siemens is ready to invest more in projects and human resources in these markets.

"Bangkok is like many megacities around the world that require an efficient mass transit network," said Mr Chay.

Siemens has committed to the further development of the Bangkok mass transit network, he added.

The German group is waiting for bids to be called for the Purple and Blue mass-transit rail lines, hopefully later this year. The German firm also wants to bid for high-speed train projects planned by the Pheu Thai government.

"We have to be patient, but good news is we are seeing movement from the government side," he added.

The company earlier signed a contract worth 2.1 billion baht with Bangkok Mass Transit System Co (BTSC) to supply 35 trailer cars for the skytrain to lengthen its existing three-car trains on the Sukhumvit line to four. Another partnership with a Khon Kaen firm to assemble passenger coaches in Thailand was signed with the aim of securing a potential contract worth 4.9 billion baht to be tendered by the State Railways of Thailand.

Regarding human resources, Mr Chay said Siemens joined hands with leading universities in Thailand to develop a master's degree curriculum for rail engineers to serve personnel needs in coming years.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/business/...on-thai-market
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Old October 3rd, 2012, 09:15 PM   #202
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Alstom enlarges Thai footprint In talks with potential local partners

Published: 3/10/2012 at 09:13 AM Newspaper section: Business

France's Alstom is considering a plan to build a manufacturing facility for train components in Thailand as the global production base in a move to grow its presence and sharpen competitiveness against arch rival Siemens.

Didier Farez, the president of Alstom (Thailand) Ltd, said the company has been approached by the Mass Rapid Transit Authority (MRTA) to consider the project and is in discussion with potential local partners.

"It will take about one year to finalise the plan," said Mr Farez, adding that the facility in Thailand would serve not only the Thai market but also exports.

The French rail leader also dabbles in power generation and transmission and operates manufacturing facilities in Indonesia, China and India.

Its train-related projects in Thailand include developing tracks for the MRTA's Blue Line and supplying diesel locomotives to the State Railway of Thailand.

Siemens AG earlier announced a partnership with a Khon Kaen company to assembly passenger coaches in Thailand.

Germany's Siemens has also worked with leading universities here to develop the country's first master's degree in rail engineering to produce qualified personnel for the industry, currently in short supply.

Yesterday, Alstom signed a five-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Kasetsart University's engineering faculty to develop students in engineering fields for both the power and transport sectors. The goal is to produce 1,000 engineers during the five years.

KU will introduce a bachelor's-degree programme in rail engineering, the first of its kind in Thailand, next semester. It hopes for 40 graduates a year.

KU students will have the opportunity to enrich their technical knowledge and experience through on-the-job training at selected Alstom operations in Asia.

Jerome de Grandmaison, the vice-president for human resources in Asia, said Alstom signed similar agreements earlier in China and India. The MoU includes a student exchange between Alstom's Asia graduate programmes, enabling the best students to be exposed to different projects in other countries.

Assoc Prof Thanya Kiatiwat, KU's engineering dean, said the partnership with Alstom will contribute to the development of infrastructure of Thailand and Asean as demand for electricity and rail expansion continues to grow in the region.

Mr Farez said Alstom wants to join bids for the Blue Line and Green Line contracts. The company also targets power projects from the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, as local power demand keeps growing.

With reported sales of 20 billion (794 billion baht) in the 2011-12 fiscal year, Alstom employs 92,000 people and operates in 100 countries.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/business/...thai-footprint
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Old October 18th, 2012, 09:22 PM   #203
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Call for SRT to accelerate upgrades

Published: 18/10/2012 at 01:48 AM

The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) is being urged to speed up a huge rail upgrade in a move to cut the country's logistics costs.

Tanit Sorat, a vice-chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, said if the government could complete the development over the next three or four years, logistics costs as a percentage of gross domestic product were expected to drop to 11% in 2016 from 14.5% last year, bringing an increase in competitiveness.

The government has earmarked 176 billion baht in funds for rail investment by the SRT through 2014.

The development includes improving rail lines throughout the country by widening dual tracks with a standard gauge of 1 to 1.435 metres.

The first phase of the project began in 2010 and is due to finish in 2014, with a total of 765 kilometres of track to be laid. The second phase (1,025 km) and third phase (1,247 km) will start in 2015 and 2020, respectively.

Thailand's logistics costs are relatively high as 83% of goods deliveries are still made by truck and only 2% by train.

The national logistics committee chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong on Tuesday agreed a development plan for 2012 to 2016 with a target to increase competitiveness.

The meeting also acknowledged 14 rail development projects worth 102.43 billion baht between 2010 and 2014.

According to a report by the National Economic and Social Development Board, only three projects worth 26.6 billion baht had budget allocated, with four projects receiving a partial budget allocation and seven projects in the process of seeking a budget.

The report said seven other projects worth 74.4 billion baht face environmental impact assessments.

It said delays to the projects were mainly because the SRT had not yet established business units that cover rail operations, asset management and maintenance functions as required by the cabinet's approval in April 2010.

The state enterprise's procurement process for 13 new locomotives was also reported to have made little progress.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/business/...erate-upgrades
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Old November 1st, 2012, 03:26 PM   #204
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Most european guests use 2nd category sleepers, which are relaxed, safe and great fun. Berths are not in spaces, but are organized 'open plan' either aspect of a main section. During the night and day aspect of the journey.
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Old November 8th, 2012, 02:22 PM   #205
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Bumpy start for local train plan

Quote:
The newly appointed Transport Minister-elect Chadchat Sittipunt wants the Mass Rapid Transit Authority (MRTA) to carefully consider its plan to produce electric trains locally.

He said yesterday local production would require foreign manufacturers to set up plants in Thailand and this would add fixed costs that would be reflected in high prices for the locally made trains.

"The plan is good in principle but the question of its practicability must be considered," Mr Chadchat said.

He wants the MRTA to first compare the projected price of locally made trains with the prices of trains made overseas.

The MRTA recently announced plans to produce electric trains locally to meet its demand for 800 new carriages.
read more:
http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/loca...cal-train-plan
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Old December 6th, 2012, 10:15 PM   #206
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Govt discusses rail link with Malaysia

Published: 5/12/2012 at 12:00 AM

Thailand and Malaysia have discussed a plan to develop a rail network linking Bangkok and Hat Yai to Padang Besar in Malaysia.

Transport Minister Chadchat Sittipunt said that he and his Malaysian counterpart have discussed a plan for construction of a 1m double-gauge track linking Thailand and Malaysia at the Padang Besar-Hat Yai checkpoint.

He was speaking yesterday after his return from the Asean transport ministers meeting in Bali.

He held talks in Bali with his Asean counterparts on transport and rail network development to improve connectivity between Asean countries, he said.

Thailand has set aside 2.2 trillion baht for public infrastructure investment.

The double-gauge track linking Thailand with Malaysia would accelerate transportation of goods to Laem Chabang port, he said.

Under the proposal, both Thailand and Malaysia would invest in track development in their respective territory.

If Malaysia wanted to transport its goods to Thailand, it may have to rent track from Thai authorities, he said. The countries would discuss other details of the investment plan.

Singapore plans to invest in a high-speed train project to link with Malaysia, Mr Chadchat added.

He said he has proposed to his Singaporean counterpart that the high-speed train network be linked with the south of Thailand.

Cambodia wants Thailand to develop a highway and rail network hub at Poi Pet to link with Cambodia, Vietnam and China's Kunming, Mr Chadchat said.

Vietnam said it wanted Thailand to improve logistics to boost the transport of goods to Laem Chabang port. Currently, there are two road links: the Mukdahan-Savannaket-Danang route, and the Mukdahan-Nakhon Phanom and Hanoi route.

Mr Chadchat said Thailand has set a target to draw more Indonesian tourists.

Myanmar remains focused on its Dawei deep-sea port development project, he said, adding that Thailand will improve Mae Sot airport so it can handle flights to and from Yangon.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/tran...-with-malaysia
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Old December 9th, 2012, 03:34 PM   #207
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Thailand Plans to Run Chinese High-speed Railway System: Minister
2012-12-08 01:01:55 Xinhua Web Editor: Yangyang

Thailand has planned to run Chinese- made high-speed railway systems designed to have time-saving, inexpensive trains for long-distance commuters shuttling between Bangkok and the northern city of Chiang Mai and between the capital and the northeastern province of Nong Khai, a senior official said here on Friday.

Thai Transport Minister Chatchat Sitthipan disclosed that the Thai government has decided to go ahead with the multi-billion-U.S. dollar railway projects under which the so-called Hexie Hao or China Railway Highspeed train system will be used.

Construction of the initial stage of the railway project for the Bangkok-Chiang Mai route is scheduled to begin by the middle or second half of next year. The railway project for both routes will be completed until 2015, he said.

Feasibility studies for the train projects have been conducted by Chinese, the transport minister said, adding that China has offered to transfer the railway technology to Thai engineers and other railway personnel.

China's Deputy Railway Minister Lu Chunfang has met with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra at the Thai Government House to discuss the Sino-Thai railway cooperation project for the Bangkok- Chiang Mai route, estimated to cost 10 billion U.S. dollars, and that for the Bangkok-Nong Khai route, estimated to cost 6.6 billion U.S. dollars.

Chatchat said commuters will spend only three and a half hours shuttling between Bangkok and Chiang Mai aboard the high-speed train, compared to a dozen hours currently consumed by a "rapid" train of the State Railway of Thailand.

"The high-speed train between Bangkok and Chiang Mai will run 250 to 300 kilometers per hour through terrains and tunnels in the mountains, particularly those in Uttaradit province, to save the traveling time for daily commuters. Given the short-cut way, that route will be shortened from 753 km to 680 km," said the transport minister.

"The 615-km Bangkok-Nong Khai route will consume no more than three hours on a similar high-speed train," he said.

According to Chatchat, the train fare will be 2.1 baht (7 U.S. cents) per km on a 250-km-per-hour train ride and 2.5 baht (8.3 U. S. cents) per km on a 300-km-per-hour train ride.

A start-up stretch of the Bangkok- Chiang Mai route has been designed to cover a 342-km distance between Bangkok and Pitsanuloak province, lying roughly halfway between the capital and the northern city.

Bang Sue train station in the capital will be upgraded to become a hub for the high-speed train systems.

Importantly, the Chiang Mai railway might be connected with China's southwest city of Kunming and the Nong Khai railway might be linked with a railway system in Vientiane, the Lao capital, the minister said.

The Thai railway system would also be connected with those in Myanmar and Malaysia, he said.

http://english.cri.cn/6909/2012/12/08/2982s737277.htm
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Old December 31st, 2012, 07:23 PM   #208
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Yingluck directs ministry to fast-track rail projects
Published: 25/12/2012 at 12:00 AM

The government is revising plans for the existing rail system and proposed high-speed rail projects in a bid to hurry investment.

According to Transport Minister Chatchart Sithiphan, the ministry was told by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra at yesterday's meeting to complete the revision within a month.

The ministry's existing plans call for spending 77.8 billion baht on 10 mass-transit projects in Bangkok and the surrounding area, excluding high-speed rail, in 2013.

The figure was set to increase to 138.9 billion baht in 2014 and 146.1 billion in 2015, dipping to 109.9 billion in 2016 and 60.4 billion in 2017.

The ministry has been told to hasten construction of the 10 planned mass transit projects covering 464 kilometres, especially the first section of the 80.8-km electric Red Line running from Rangsit in Pathum Thani to Bang Sue.

The Red Line project was delayed after suggestions that a section of it would be scrapped because it would overlap the future extension of the Airport Rail Link from Phaya Thai station to Don Mueang airport, as well as a planned international high-speed rail route.

In related news, bidding for high-speed rail projects is expected to kick off faster than previously planned, moving from the third or fourth quarter of 2013 to the second quarter, according to Mr Chatchart.

The ministry is also required to settle route plans, sources of funding and the environmental impact.

Mr Chatchart said the government would invest only in rail systems and civil works making up 80% of the project, with the rest coming through public-private partnership.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/tran...-rail-projects
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Old January 6th, 2013, 09:30 PM   #209
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Thailand's location drives transport investment plan

A modal shift in transport for greater competitiveness is the name of the game behind the government's massive infrastructure development programme, which will be kicked off this year with the tendering of four high-speed-rail projects.

Under the grand plan, 55 projects worth Bt2.27 trillion (US$66.29 billion) are to be completed by 2020.

These projects are part of the government's long-term development plan but are being expedited by a commitment to infrastructure investment, the opening up of Myanmar, and the implementation of the Asean Economic Community (AEC).

The Finance Ministry is expected to submit a draft Bt2.2-trillion borrowing bill for the Cabinet’s approval this month.

In the 2013 fiscal year, infrastructure spending of Bt100 billion is earmarked, according to Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt.

"The infrastructure development projects are designed to make Thailand the true centre stage of Asean. Under this plan, Bangkok will no longer singly represent Thailand. Major cities will gain greater prominence, thanks to the AEC, which will allow us to expand our territory without having to go to war, and extend regional connectivity," the minister said in an interview.

Of the total budget of Bt2.2 trillion, 64 per cent will fund 31 rail-related projects, 24 per cent will go to 13 road projects, 7 per cent to seven water-transport projects, and 4.75 per cent to four air-transport projects.

Ultimately, these projects are expected to improve linkages between Thailand and its Asean neighbours, reduce logistics costs, deal with growing traffic congestion, and boost tourism revenue.

Chadchart envisages Thailand as the centre of Asean through its presence in the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec), the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACEMECS), and the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle.

To benefit fully from these connections, Thailand requires a new seamless network and new rules to facilitate cross-border transport.

Thailand will be linked with the regional groups through the Southern Economic Corridor (Bangkok-Phnom Penh-Ho Chi Minh City), the East-West Economic Corridor (Malamang-Phitsanulok-Khon Kaen-Savannakhet-Danang), and the North-South Economic Corridor (which links Thailand with Kunming, China, via Laos and Myanmar). Through Route R9, Thailand will link Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar.

The road links are expected to boost border trade, which totalled $22.7 billion in the first nine months of 2012.

"We need to be friends with all our neighbours and must not take advantage of them. This can be a win-win deal for all sides," Chadchart said.

New investments in rail projects are designed to reduce logistics costs, which now account for 15.2 per cent of gross domestic product, against 8.3 per cent in the United States.

The cost is high as freight transport is 86 per cent by road, though this mode is the most polluting and most dangerous to life.

From 71 billion kilotonnes equivalent of carbon emission in 2010, 35 per cent came from goods transport and 36 per cent from the manufacturing sector.

Shipment by rail and water, currently at 12 per cent and 2 per cent respectively, will be promoted because of their lower costs compared to road transport.

"Rail transport should be tentatively raised to 40 per cent," Chadchart said.

Costing a total of Bt900 billion, the four high-speed-rail routes will help the government achieve that goal.

While the high-speed trains will speed up travel for individual commuters, they will also promise a shorter transport period for goods.

In Bangkok, where new roads cannot be built, the combined length of the electric-train routes will be expanded by 10 times from 40 kilometres to 468.8km. Tendering of the MRT Pink Line is expected to take place next month.

"If the tendering of all 10 new projects can be launched within two years, they will all be completed seven years from now," he said.

In the air-transport segment, some airports will be improved to attract more tourism revenue.

"There are 38 airports in Thailand, but 72 per cent of tourist arrivals are seen through Suvarnabhumi Airport," Chadchart said.

"The bottleneck must be tackled. In this regard, the Mae Sot airport could be used for travel to Myanmar."

He said there was plenty of fiscal room to finance the projects.

"We can issue 3-per-cent bonds to finance the infrastructure projects.

"This is worthwhile as it will reduce energy consumption, pollution and logistics costs. We can invest first and pay back the investment through profits reaped from the projects," he said.

The government tentatively plans to finance 8 per cent of the needed funds through revenue of involved state enterprises, 69 per cent through borrowing by government and state enterprises, 9 per cent through annual fiscal budgets, and 14 per cent through public-private investment.

Unlike the Bt350-billion budget for the water-management scheme, which is backed by a borrowing decree, the minister said it was necessary for the government issue a law to back the Bt2.27-trillion transport-infrastructure investment.

"We need a law as we want to make it a national agenda, turning the projects into contingency plans that will bind all [subsequent] governments to follow through. It's a necessity for the nation. Whoever becomes the government must continue with it, as it will benefit the entire country."

To Chadchart, dealing with environmental concerns is key to the success of the scheme. Without public acceptance, the projects could face delays.

As much of the investment will go to rail projects, the government also needs to make sure that the State Railway of Thailand is capable of handling the projects.

He said the new SRT governor Prapat Chongsanguan and the labour union had started to see the urgency of restructuring, as few want to take a train ride because of poor service.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/busi...-30197376.html
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Old January 19th, 2013, 09:25 PM   #210
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SRT inks deal for Bang Sue rail terminus

Published: 19 Jan 2013

The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) yesterday signed a multi-billion-baht contract for the construction of a new railway terminus and depot in Bang Sue.

The project is expected to be completed in two and a half years.

Sino-Thai Engineering & Construction Pcl and Unique Engineering and Construction Pcl were contracted to build the Bang Sue terminus and depot worth 29 billion baht for the SRT.

The terminus will house four platforms for community trains, 12 platforms for long-distance trains, eight platforms for future use, a ticket office, a ramp to connect to the subway system and a multi-storey car park.

Presiding over the contract signing ceremony, Transport Minister Chadchat Sittipunt said he would push for the construction to be completed within two and a half years.

He said the Bang Sue station will play an important role in the country's mass transit system because it will serve as a hub for all the country's electric rail networks. He said there will be good connections to other modes of transport, unlike with the Makkasan Airport Rail Link station which was not properly connected to other forms of transport.

The contract signed yesterday was part of the Bang Sue-Rangsit section of the Red Line electric railway project.

The second contract of the project concerns the construction of the railway track between Bang Sue and Rangsit. Project creditor, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, is reviewing investment details. The minister expects the signing to take place next month.

The third contract for the Bang Sue-Rangsit project is for the procurement of trains. Officials are examining the shareholding details of a potential contractor before this is signed.

Mr Chadchat said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who paid a visit this week, had expressed Japan's interest in Thai infrastructure projects, especially in transport such as high-speed railways.

The minister said he has encouraged Japan to bid for high-speed railway contracts in the future.

Mr Chadchat said bidding contest terms for the signalling system and train procurement would be announced in the third quarter of this year.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/tran...-rail-terminus

Source: Design Concept Co.





























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Old January 23rd, 2013, 08:32 PM   #211
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Govt to invest 2.2 trillion baht in transport overhaul

Published: 23 Jan 2013

The government yesterday announced a 2.2-trillion-baht investment package to boost the country's transport system, including a massive increase in rail services in Bangkok.

The Pheu Thai Party-led government aims to increase connectivity between Bangkok and other provinces with a new high-speed train service, and to improve travel conditions in the capital by adding nearly 400km to the existing electric rail network.

The investment programme, to be overseen by Transport Minister Chadchat Sittipunt, also aims to encourage trade and investment.

The massive investment plans were unveiled as the government prepared to issue a bill authorising loans amounting to 2 trillion baht.

The loans will finance the transport infrastructure investment over the next seven years, from this year to 2020, said a source. Details of each project are being summarised and will be forwarded to the cabinet for approval next month.

On top of the loans, the government has also set aside an additional budget of 33.3 billion baht, loans from other sources totalling 105 billion baht, 38.7 billion baht in revenue from state enterprises and another 106 billion baht from the public-private partnership.

Mr Chadchat said 93.14%, or 1.8 trillion baht of the 2-trillion-baht loans, would pay for transport infrastructure projects under the supervision of his ministry.

The investment involves four main transport networks, accounting for 78% of the borrowing.

These are roads, rail, water transport and air, he said. The huge spending on infrastructure was crucial for the country's economic growth, he said.

The investment would ease the transport burden on roads and shift it to the rail network, which would help reduce logistics costs by up to 13.2%, he said.

Currently, logistics costs make up about 15.2% of gross domestic product, compared to 8.3% in the United States.

The programme would also improve transport in and near Bangkok.

It would add nine more electric rail routes to subway and skytrain services, coupled with a flat-rate ticket price of 20 baht for all mass transit services to encourage greater use of the system.

Bangkok has only 80km of electric railways at present. The investment will expand the total length of electric railway in the greater Bangkok area to 464km by 2019, the minister said.

The investment in a high-speed inter-provincial train network would shorten travel times between Bangkok and other parts of the country. High-speed train trips within 300km of Bangkok would take no more than 90 minutes, he said.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/tran...sport-overhaul

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Old January 23rd, 2013, 09:02 PM   #212
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Wow, Thailand will become the "Grand Central" of Asean once the lines are completed and connected to the neighbour countries.

Asean countries must work closely to formulate a standard for railway construction to ensure there is provision for future connectivity.
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Old January 23rd, 2013, 09:08 PM   #213
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Quote:
Originally Posted by napoleon View Post
Govt to invest 2.2 trillion baht in transport overhaul

Published: 23 Jan 2013


Currently, logistics costs make up about 15.2% of gross domestic product, compared to 8.3% in the United States.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/tran...sport-overhaul
Is there a plan to upgrade or improve the freight rail? The news seem to focus on the HSR only.
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Old January 27th, 2013, 01:02 AM   #214
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Yes there are, however most news are in thai. Here's a summary of it by K Wisarut.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wisarut View Post
BTW, the projects in question are going to be supported by 2 Trillion Baht domestic loan Decree which SRT getting a big share of that budget in question including:

First account - the first priority:

1. Investment on SRT with the price tag of 806,699 million Baht including

1.1 Track structure reinforcement of 406 million Baht
1.2 Bridge replacement or reinforcement of 10,945 million Baht
1.3 level crossing gates of 4,368 million Baht
1.4 traffic light to replace semaphores 11,358 million Baht -. etc.

2. First phase double tracking
2.1 Map Krabao - Nakhon ratchasima with the new tunnel through Dong Phraya Yen 21,196 million Baht

3. Three New lines
3.1 denchai - Chiang rai - Chiang Khong 77,275 million Baht
3.2 Ban Phai - Nakhon Phanom 42,106 million Baht
3.3 Ban Phachi - CP Port at Nakhon Luang 4,546 million Baht

4. Second phase double tracking
4.1 Hua Hin - Prachuab Khirikhan 9,555 million Baht
4.2 Chumporn - Surat Thaniน 17,640 million Baht

5. Third phase double tracking
5.1 Surat Thani - Padang besar 339 km at 35,700 million Baht

6. First phase high speed train network at 753,105 million Baht

7. Kaeng Khoi Locomotive Depot and factory with a price tag of 1,000 million Baht to replace makkasan Locomotive Depot and factory

http://www.prachachat.net/news_detai...&subcatid=1901
Here's the plan:
Green lines: Single track railways
Blue lines: Double track railways
Dark green lines: Triple track railways
Grey lines: New railways lines to be constructed.
Pink & Red lines: High Speed Rail.


http://thaihispeedtrain.com/about2.php
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Last edited by Codename B; January 27th, 2013 at 01:09 AM.
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Old January 28th, 2013, 08:11 PM   #215
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SRT freezes land leases near tracks

Structures to be cleared to build high speed rails


Published: 28 Jan 2013 at

The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) will stop leasing areas along tracks across the country as they will need to be preserved for the construction of high-speed and double track railways.

Transport Minister Chadchat Sittipunt has ordered the SRT not to sign any future leases and to consider scrapping land use contracts with existing lease holders in some cases.

He wants areas along some rail tracks to be free of buildings that could obstruct the construction of double track and high speed railways.

Knocking down the buildings and negotiating lease cancellations with private users could take time and delay the two projects, Mr Chadchat said.

This is why he wants the SRT to stop granting new leases and start looking into cancelling current contracts as soon as possible.

The government has proposed a multi-billion baht plan to improve the nation's infrastructure to boost travel and cut logistic costs.

The government hopes to open bidding in September for contracts to build the country's first high-speed rail link _ the Bangkok-Chiang Mai route which will cover a 680km distance in three hours.

The idea to clear the areas around the tracks for the two construction projects occurred to Mr Chadchat while he was travelling to join the cabinet meeting in Uttaradit early last week.

"Approaching the Uttaradit railway station, I spotted buildings located very close to the rail tracks," he said. "SRT authorities said the building owners have signed a 15-year contract with the SRT which will end in 2025."

The minister said he also found several buildings located close to the Airport Link railway in the Ramkhamhaeng area of Bangkok.

These buildings may pose a hindrance to the construction of the high-speed and double track railway projects, he said.

By law, all buildings are required to be at least 15m away from rail tracks.

Mr Chadchat was referring to the Community Mall, which is located closer to the tracks than the 15m distance requirement, an SRT source said.

The SRT has terminated its lease with the mall's owners, who then asked the court to issue an injunction against further legal action because the building was built before the construction of the Airport Rail Link, the SRT source said.

Both sides are negotiating to find a solution.

Negotiations with other lease holders may need to be carried out on a case-by-case basis if their structures pose any problems for the construction of the high-speed and double track railways, the source said.

The SRT is considering increasing the minimum distance requirement from 15m to 40m.

Meanwhile, Mr Chadchat is planning to upgrade the ailing Inland Container Depot (ICD) at Lat Krabang district to better serve business operators. The depot has been operating for 17 years without any major renovation.

The SRT, which owns the land where the ICD is situated, earns about 500 million baht a year from leasing the area to six container operators. However, the SRT has not used the money to improve the facilities, Mr Chadchat said after meeting the six operators.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/tran...es-near-tracks
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Old January 28th, 2013, 08:43 PM   #216
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Is Chiang Mai the biggest metropolitan area in Thailand outside Bangkok and it's immediate surroundings? As I understood this will be the first line to be built.
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Old February 7th, 2013, 12:29 PM   #217
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Yes it is, if one don't count all the cities close to Bangkok.

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Public hearing on high-speed train project
The Nation February 7, 2013 1:00 am

The authorities held a public hearing yesterday for an upcoming high-speed train project in Nakhon Ratchasima. The 256-km distance between Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima will be covered in 90 minutes by the high-speed train.

Local residents and businesspeople, as well as those whose land will be expropriated to make way for the train project, were given a chance to explain how their lives would be affected, project manager Niwat Tansawat said.

The Bangkok-Nakhon Ratcha-sima high-speed train is part of a major project covering four main routes from the capital, including routes to Chiang Mai, Hua Hin and Pattaya. Once all public hearings have been completed for the Nakhon Ratchasima route, land expropriation will begin next year followed immediately by construction, which will take five years to complete.

The Bangkok-Nakhon Ratcha-sima train will stop at stations in Ayutthaya, Saraburi and Pak Chong.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/nati...-30199500.html
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Old February 21st, 2013, 09:11 PM   #218
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http://www.nationmultimedia.com/busi...-30197376.html
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Old February 21st, 2013, 11:49 PM   #219
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Thailand's location drives transport investment plan

A modal shift in transport for greater competitiveness is the name of the game behind the government's massive infrastructure development programme, which will be kicked off this year with the tendering of four high-speed-rail projects.

Under the grand plan, 55 projects worth Bt2.27 trillion (US$66.29 billion) are to be completed by 2020.

These projects are part of the government's long-term development plan but are being expedited by a commitment to infrastructure investment, the opening up of Myanmar, and the implementation of the Asean Economic Community (AEC).

The Finance Ministry is expected to submit a draft Bt2.2-trillion borrowing bill for the Cabinet’s approval this month.

In the 2013 fiscal year, infrastructure spending of Bt100 billion is earmarked, according to Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt.

"The infrastructure development projects are designed to make Thailand the true centre stage of Asean. Under this plan, Bangkok will no longer singly represent Thailand. Major cities will gain greater prominence, thanks to the AEC, which will allow us to expand our territory without having to go to war, and extend regional connectivity," the minister said in an interview.

Of the total budget of Bt2.2 trillion, 64 per cent will fund 31 rail-related projects, 24 per cent will go to 13 road projects, 7 per cent to seven water-transport projects, and 4.75 per cent to four air-transport projects.

Ultimately, these projects are expected to improve linkages between Thailand and its Asean neighbours, reduce logistics costs, deal with growing traffic congestion, and boost tourism revenue.

Chadchart envisages Thailand as the centre of Asean through its presence in the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec), the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACEMECS), and the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle.

To benefit fully from these connections, Thailand requires a new seamless network and new rules to facilitate cross-border transport.

Thailand will be linked with the regional groups through the Southern Economic Corridor (Bangkok-Phnom Penh-Ho Chi Minh City), the East-West Economic Corridor (Malamang-Phitsanulok-Khon Kaen-Savannakhet-Danang), and the North-South Economic Corridor (which links Thailand with Kunming, China, via Laos and Myanmar). Through Route R9, Thailand will link Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar.

The road links are expected to boost border trade, which totalled $22.7 billion in the first nine months of 2012.

"We need to be friends with all our neighbours and must not take advantage of them. This can be a win-win deal for all sides," Chadchart said.

New investments in rail projects are designed to reduce logistics costs, which now account for 15.2 per cent of gross domestic product, against 8.3 per cent in the United States.

The cost is high as freight transport is 86 per cent by road, though this mode is the most polluting and most dangerous to life.

From 71 billion kilotonnes equivalent of carbon emission in 2010, 35 per cent came from goods transport and 36 per cent from the manufacturing sector.

Shipment by rail and water, currently at 12 per cent and 2 per cent respectively, will be promoted because of their lower costs compared to road transport.

"Rail transport should be tentatively raised to 40 per cent," Chadchart said.

Costing a total of Bt900 billion, the four high-speed-rail routes will help the government achieve that goal.

While the high-speed trains will speed up travel for individual commuters, they will also promise a shorter transport period for goods.

In Bangkok, where new roads cannot be built, the combined length of the electric-train routes will be expanded by 10 times from 40 kilometres to 468.8km. Tendering of the MRT Pink Line is expected to take place next month.

"If the tendering of all 10 new projects can be launched within two years, they will all be completed seven years from now," he said.

In the air-transport segment, some airports will be improved to attract more tourism revenue.

"There are 38 airports in Thailand, but 72 per cent of tourist arrivals are seen through Suvarnabhumi Airport," Chadchart said.

"The bottleneck must be tackled. In this regard, the Mae Sot airport could be used for travel to Myanmar."

He said there was plenty of fiscal room to finance the projects.

"We can issue 3-per-cent bonds to finance the infrastructure projects.

"This is worthwhile as it will reduce energy consumption, pollution and logistics costs. We can invest first and pay back the investment through profits reaped from the projects," he said.

The government tentatively plans to finance 8 per cent of the needed funds through revenue of involved state enterprises, 69 per cent through borrowing by government and state enterprises, 9 per cent through annual fiscal budgets, and 14 per cent through public-private investment.

Unlike the Bt350-billion budget for the water-management scheme, which is backed by a borrowing decree, the minister said it was necessary for the government issue a law to back the Bt2.27-trillion transport-infrastructure investment.

"We need a law as we want to make it a national agenda, turning the projects into contingency plans that will bind all [subsequent] governments to follow through. It's a necessity for the nation. Whoever becomes the government must continue with it, as it will benefit the entire country."

To Chadchart, dealing with environmental concerns is key to the success of the scheme. Without public acceptance, the projects could face delays.

As much of the investment will go to rail projects, the government also needs to make sure that the State Railway of Thailand is capable of handling the projects.

He said the new SRT governor Prapat Chongsanguan and the labour union had started to see the urgency of restructuring, as few want to take a train ride because of poor service.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/busi...-30197376.html
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Old February 27th, 2013, 08:39 PM   #220
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Major transport project set to go

THE NATION February 28, 2013 1:00 am

The government is ready to kick off its long-awaited infrastructure investments, with the aim of accomplishing three main national strategies - a shift to a multi-modal transport system; connectivity; and mobility.

However, the amount to be invested in projects outlined for implementation over the seven years to 2020, as approved by Cabinet yesterday, was revised down slightly from Bt2.27 trillion to Bt2 trillion. According to Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong, some of the connected projects will be funded via the annual investment budgets.

If investment from annual budgets is included, Thailand's total outlay during the seven-year period would be Bt4.2 trillion. While strategic projects under the Bt2-trillion plan will be financed by borrowing, the rest - covering connecting projects nationwide - would come from annual investment expenditure, he said.

"The main modes - air, water and railroad - will be financed by the Bt2 trillion borrowing, while the linkages will be financed by annual budgets. In terms of budget, we are ready. Our income would rise in line with economic expansion," he told reporters yesterday.

EXHIBITION NEXT MONTH

The government plans an exhibition from March 7-10 at the Government Centre to reveal the investment plans in detail to the general public. A seminar will also be hosted for in-depth discussion on the plan.

The Transport and Finance ministries will then wrap up the proposal for screening by Cabinet, before it is sent to Parliament next month. The government plans to issue a law to support the borrowing.

Investors from many countries are keen to join the construction projects. Local and foreign business operators are optimistic that the outlays will increase Thailand's competitiveness, particularly under the Kingdom's plan to become Asean's transport hub when the Asean Economic Community comes into being in 2015.

According to Paiboon Nalinthrangkurn, CEO of the Federation of Thai Capital Market Organisations (FETCO), who recently joined a Thai delegation to Hong Kong, investors in Thailand have huge interest in the project, particularly the funding side and any possible delays. Kittiratt and Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt explained things at length to over 100 investors.

"All of them supported the investment thanks to the absence of mega projects since the Suvarnabhumi Airport, but they are curious about the funding," he told Krungthep Turakij TV. "On the delay issue, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and all ministers promised that a campaign would be launched to assure all of no delay. This is what the capital market will monitor."

"It was a job well done for this meeting. The trip has built confidence [among investors in Thai infrastructure projects] to quite a good level," he said.

DOUBLE-RAIL TRACK

Of the Bt2-trillion budget, some Bt309.3 billion will be allocated to double-track rail and port improvement. Another Bt955 billion will go to road and rail networks to promote connectivity with neighbouring countries and Asean, which will boost border trade. The remaining Bt672.5 billion will improve urban transport systems (Bt527.8 billion) and links to major provincial cities (Bt144.7 billion).

Transport Minister Chadchart said earlier a modal shift was necessary given higher energy prices and rising concern over global warming.

About 70 per cent of transport in Thailand is done by road, despite high cost and frequent accidents. Better infrastructure nationwide with better inter-city links will distribute economic growth to other parts of the country, as Bangkok faces saturation.

Average road speed in Bangkok and nearby provinces is only 28km per hour, and the country is a net energy importer.

The Asia Pacific Energy Research Centre said in a recent report that Thailand's total energy demands will triple by 2035 if things are not changed.

LOGISTIC COSTS

In the plan approved by Cabinet yesterday, the Bt2-trillion investment will lower Thai logistic costs by at least 2 percentage points from 15 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) at present. The ratio is less than 10 per cent in the US. Shipment by rail will rise from 2.5 per cent to at least 5 per cent while the water transport ratio will rise from 15 per cent to at least 19 per cent.

These outlays will expand GDP by 1 per cent a year, and create about 500,000 jobs nationwide.

While some equipment and materials will be imported for projects, this is expected to raise the current account deficit by 1 percentage point per annum. Imports are also expected to cut pressure on the Thai baht, after huge inflows.

Despite concerns this investment will spur domestic inflation, the government is convinced it will rise only 0.16 per cent over the period.

Meanwhile, public debt should peak at only 50 per cent of GDP during this time, allowing the government to maintain fiscal discipline. The Pheu Thai-led government earlier announced that it would run a balanced budget in 2016.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/busi...-30200892.html
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