Laem Chabang Port - 75% Foreign Cap Mulled

June.05 2018

LEAM CHABANG Port officials have conducted a feasibility study on setting the level of foreign investment in the development of Phase 3 of the deep-sea port at 75 per cent – the same level as that for the high-speed train project linking the Don Meuang, Suvarnabhumi and U-Tapao airports.
Laem Chabang Port managing director Montree Lergchumniel said after the second “market sounding” on the development of the port’s phase 3 yesterday that from the preliminary study the project might allow private investment at the ratio of between Bt95 billion and Bt105 billion.
Both international and local investors are allowed to take part in the bidding.
The foreign investment ratio in the port’s first and second phase development is capped at 49 per cent.
He added that if the foreign investment ratio in the third phase is raised to 75 per cent, this ratio in the first and second phase development will remain the same at 49 per cent.
The port has also studied the legal aspects in the event of raising the foreign ownership ratio in the first two phases to 75 per cent after concessions of the first two phases have expired.
The biddings for the development of the third phase is divided into three contracts. It might develop an additional contract if it is later found that the project has attracted overwhelming interest from investors.
Montree said that the project has already drawn interest from foreign investors from China, Japan, and Europe.
The port will hold the third ‘market sounding’ in July in parallel with it carrying out the Environmental Health Impact Assessment before announcement of the term of reference in August. The bidding is expected to take place in December with start of construction in February.
PM Office minister Kobsak Pootrakool said that bidding of the key mega projects in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) would take place either late this year or early next year to assure investors that the EEC projects would definitely take place.
The government has planned to call bids of eight projects in EEC within its tenure, including the high-speed train project, and the aviation maintenance and repair centre.
Kobsak added that Laem Chabang port would become the country’s main port for import and export in the future, therefore, its development must be hastened.
He said that Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has a policy to fully support the participation in the biddings by both Thai and international investors.
Therefore, all EEC projects might have to allow foreign ownership up to 75 per cent if permissible by law.
The complete development of phase 3 of the Laem Chabang port will increase the port’s container throughput capacity in handling shipments to 18.1 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) from the current 11.1 million TEUs.

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