BANGKOK (The Nation/Asia News Network): The Port Authority of Thailand (PAT) is looking into developing dry ports in Khon Kaen and Nakhon Ratchasima and expects the entire project to cost about 14 billion baht.
PAT director-general Kriengkrai Chaisiriwongsuk said the agency is studying two investment formats for the projects and expects the study to be completed within this year.
Once the study is completed, the project will be proposed to the PAT board of directors, Transport Ministry and the Cabinet for consideration, he said.
The two investment types being studied are:
• Public-private partnership (PPP): PAT will be responsible for the investment, but it will take at least five years.
• A private company with shareholders: Capital will be raised via the sale of shares, while PAT will be responsible for operations. Operations should be up and running within three years.
"However, we must consider this issue thoroughly by considering both advantages and disadvantages," Kriengkrai said.
He added that the first dry port will cover up to 2,000 rai (3.2sq km) in Khon Kaen’s Nam Phong district. He added that Sung Noen district in Nakhon Ratchasima is being considered for the second dry port.
He said he expects a decision to be made on the areas to be earmarked for dry port development within this year.
"It is up to the private sectors' readiness and locals' cooperation where the dry port will be developed first," he said.
PAT is confident the dry ports will support international logistics as both Khon Kaen and Nakhon Ratchasima have the potential to connect with neighbouring countries via road and rail. Dry ports are directly connected by road or rail to a seaport and operate as a centre for the transhipment of sea cargo.