DEPUTY Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak has urged Port Authority of Thailand (PAT) to speed up the third phase of the Laem Chabang Port project, bids for which will open on March 29.
The winner is expected to be announced in April.
After his visit yesterday to PAT, Somkid said, “We asked PAT to go ahead with the third phase of Laem Chabang Port project as planned. Now, we are trying to find a partner to co-invest with us. In preparing the TOR [terms of reference], all aspects must be looked through with flexibility so that private enterprises find no risk in investment, as they will have to manage the risk.
“If any private enterprise makes strange proposals, they must be carefully looked into. Since there are no areas of concern, we believe it [the third phase] will move ahead as planned,” he said.
He also expressed confidence that no less than two private enterprises will bid for the project.
Given recent discussions with PTT Plc, Somkid said PTT is interested in bidding for the third phase of Laem Chabang Project. PAT said that foreign private enterprises, most of which involve logistics, have also expressed interest in bidding through joint venture with Thai private enterprises.
With regard to the Bangkok Port, PAT will hold discussions with a consulting company to set a plan to improve the port so as to accommodate tourism cruises aside from cargo, while drawing up a commercial development plan for areas around the port within 2020, earlier than the previously set 2021.
Somkid said that the Bangkok Port development project may involve developing areas around the port as a complex, a shopping area, shops and restaurants to facilitate tourists and this project will be similar to the South Korean port of Pusan.
Investment in the project may come from a planned future fund, which will allow people ownership, given the project’s large size and expected good returns, he said.
Bangkok Port has an area of about 2,353 rai (376 hectares) with appraised land value of about Bt800 billion to Bt900 billion, which is planned to be developed as a smart port with an integrated modern department store, a merchant marine business centre, office buildings, logistics and distribution centre and inland container depot for export.
On the regional front, PAT may connect Ranong Port with the double-track rail project’s Lang Suan Station in Chumphon province for transporting products from the Eastern Economic Corridor to the Southern Economic Corridor with a linkage to the Gulf of Thailand and South Asia, he said.
He also asked PAT to rush for a study of the second Ranong Port development plan at a nearby area to increase product transport capacity.
PAT director-general Kamolsak Promprayoon said that the authority has a plan to develop Ranong Port with an estimated investment budget of Bt5.47 billion and is now in the process of detailed design and environmental impact assessment. Construction is expected to commence in 2020 with the project going on stream in 2022.
The second Ranong Port project is in the study process and will be located to the south of Ranong Port.