A Charoen Pokphand Group (CP Group)-led consortium will revise its proposal for the Bt224-billion high-speed rail project to link three of the country’s main airports, in the hope of easing deadlock over financial aspects, while State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has sets its target to finish the negotiations before the Songkran holidays next month.
Worawut Mala, acting SRT governor chaired yesterday’s meeting of a committee to select a private enterprise to join the project to review the CP Group's proposal. He said that after the committee had refused the consortium’s 12 proposals for having contradicted the request for proposals (RFP), the result of yesterday’s negotiations was that the consortium wanted to continue negotiating, while also needed to continue the negotiations while also agreeing to amend some of the terms that contradicted the RFP.
The consortium also asked for time to negotiate with its allies in financial matters, and the next negotiation was set for March 28, he said.
Among the three groups of 12 proposals, the first involves the time schedules, the second relates to the financial issues and the third regards others as too specific.
CP Group explained that the proposed extension of the project period from 50 years to 99 years had been misunderstood as the group does not set a mandatory requirement on that issue, but rather proposed that negotiations could occur for a longer period in the event that the state had a need to extend it.
On the financial front, according to the CP Group, discussions with its financial allies have not yet been finalised. The project involves cooperation among the governments of Thailand, China and Japan and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). An offer on lending rates is nearly concluded.
“The negotiations have not reached a dead end,” said Worawut. “CP Group seemed to relax on some proposals. We’re waiting for the group’s next clarification. If we finish [financial] matters, it will be regarded as 70 per cent completed progress, with the big issues completed through talks. Other proposals with specific wording, including the relocation of stations, can be adjusted at future talks,” he said.