THE PORT AUTHORITY of Thailand (PAT) plans to invest Bt120 billion between now and 2020 to turn the country into a marine logistics hub in Asean.
Sutthinan Hatthawong, the new director-general of PAT, told The Nation yesterday that up to Bt80 billion would be used to develop the third phase of the deep-sea port in Chon Buri’s Laem Chabang area.
Half of the investment will be borne by PAT and half will be put out to tender for the private sector to develop. The investment will start in the second half of this year, he said.
The remaining Bt40 billion will be divided into Bt8 billion a year to develop infrastructure at Bangkok Port. An information-technology system will cost about Bt3 billion to serve PAT’s five ports and provide training for its 3,800 staff to serve business expansion over the next five years.
The five ports are Bangkok Port, Laem Chabang Port, Ranong Port, Chiang Khong Port and Chiang Saen Port.
This is separate from the master plan to develop part of 2,000 rai (320 hectares) of land at Bangkok Port, located in Klong Toei district, as a commercial area.
“We cannot say how much space will be developed to be a commercial area, such as office and retail space. That depends on the master plan to develop infrastructure around Bangkok Port,” Sutthinan said.
The master plan has revised the structures that will be in the area based on the demand to develop Bangkok Port as a hub for imports and exports in the region.
The main need is for infrastructure such as a warehouse, distribution centre and office for PAT and related parties such as the Customs Department.
The rest of the space will be developed as a commercial area for retail, hospitality and other businesses.
“The master plan will require several billions of baht. That may be invested by ourselves or opened to bidding to develop under a public-private partnership. This is undergoing a study that will be finalised in the end of this year.”
The problem is that there are up to 1,000 families living in that part of Klong Toei. PAT is negotiating with them and providing them information about the master plan to develop the area and the new area that they will be moved to.
“We believe that the latest master plan can serve all of the demands of the relevant parties,” he said.
According to the aggressive five-year investment plan, some of the funds will come from PAT’s internal cash flow, which is now Bt18 billion a year.
A study is being conducted on launching an infrastructure fund. PAT now has assets worth up to Bt40 billion to serve the infrastructure fund if PAT elects to use this way to raise capital.
The private sector may be tapped to develop the commercial area.
Under the investment plan, PAT targets doubling its revenue from Bt13 billion last year to Bt26 billion in 2020.
PAT is a state-owned enterprise.