Talks between the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) and Charoen Pokphand Group (CP Group) on March 19 will decide whether the consortium will develop a high-speed rail project linking three major airports, Deputy Transport Minister Pailin Chuchottaworn said.
The consortium submitted the lowest bid price for the rail project linking Don Mueang airport in Bangkok with Suvarnabhumi in Samut Prakan and U-tapao in Rayong.
Previous talks hit a dead end when the SRT rejected additional proposals raised by the consortium out of the terms of reference (ToR) for the bidding.
The rejection came at a meeting on Feb 22 of the SRT’s contractor selection committee, which said the proposals went against a cabinet resolution.
The SRT reportedly asked CP to come for further talks on Tuesday but the company asked to meet next Wednesday instead, since it needed to hold talks with investment partners. The committee later rescheduled the meeting for March 19.
“There will be no postponement of the March 19 talks unless there is some exceptional reason to do so,” said Mr Pailin.
He said he believed CP was still willing to take up the project.
“On that day, the selection committee will decide whether the project is to be run by CP, or not,” the minister said.
If the talks fail, another group would be asked to step into the breach, he added.
The minister was referring to the second-lowest bidder, BSR JV, which is made up of Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc (BTS), Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction Plc, and Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Plc.
Mr Pailin said he expected a deal to be struck this month in line with the parameters set out by Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak.
He said he told Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) governor Tadashi Maeda, who he met last Thursday, that talks with CP would conclude soon.
JBIC is the financier of the project and one of the consortium partners, which also include Bangkok Expressway and Metro Plc, China Railway Construction Corporation Ltd, Ch Karnchang Plc, and Italian-Thai Development Plc.