Japan, South Korea and European countries still have an opportunity to invest in Thailand's railway systems - despite the pending 867-kilometre double-track project being allocated to China, Transport Minister Prajin Juntong said yesterday.
Besides the recently approved Nong Khai-Nakhon Ratchasima-Kaeng Khoi-Map Ta Phut (734km) and Kaeng Khoi-Bangkok (133km) routes, which China will be involved in, Prajin says the government plans to construct three more rail routes that offer investment opportunities to other countries.
He said the first line would be built along the East-West Economic Corridor – Mae Sot-Phitsanulok-Phetchabun-Khon Kaen-Mukdahan – and the second route was Phu Nam Ron-Kanchanaburi-Bangkok-Rayong.
Japanese investors may be interested in the third route, from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, he said.
“We will discuss these rail development possibilities with Japan when the new [Japanese] government has taken office,” he said at the side of the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) summit here.
Prajin said that since the projects were announced in July, many foreign investors had shown an interest, including investors from Japan, South Korea and Europe.
He said the East-West Corridor route was initially going to be a highway but the junta realised a rail system would be a better option logistically.
The rail route was a crucial part of the rail network in the Greater Mekong Sub-region.
Prajin said GMS countries had agreed to establish the Greater Mekong Railway Association to coordinate and cooperate on rail systems in the region.
Commenting on the cooperation with China, Prajin said the joint working group – which he would chair – would begin the survey and study work for the project early next year.