Archive for the 'Mega-Projects' Category

At last a good news : BTS line extension at Taksin bridge about to open

The sky train extension from Taksin to Wong Wian Yai will open for a test run on Songkran day. Normal service is expected to begin by the middle of next month.

Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhan Barapatra said he and city administrators will be on board for the first test run of the BTS extension from Taksin to Wong Wian Yai on April 13 at 1am.

The service will be free of charge from May 15 to August 12. Normal fares will be implemented after August 12. (TOC)

At last ! At last a good and real news. Something meaningful.

Now… the bad news.

This extension is… 2,2 kilometers long. 2200 meters if you prefer. With 2 stations.

And this project was launched in…. 2003. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Yes ladies and gentlemen. 6 years ago (read here ). And actually, the infrastructure work was finished long time ago (read here)…

The project, like all projects in Thailand, was riddled by problems, fighting between politicians, corruption etc.

So, now you understand why I created a “Mega projects” category… Why we were laughing when Thaksin, then Samak, then Abhisit were talking about “hundred of kilometers of new train lines”, new BTS lines, etc… Since 2005. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Joke of the day : they forgot to create the company to manage the Airport Train line

Let’s imagine the following dialog at the SRT :

-“Boss, boss ! I’m afraid we fucked up again. The new Airport Link is supposed to open soon. But we forgot to think about the… management of the line. Do we do it ourselves ? Or do we hire a contractor ? And who ?

-“But how could it be possible ? We started to work on this line in… 2005 ! Three freaking years ago !”

๐Ÿ˜‰

The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) board wants a private company to operate the new Airport Rail Link until a subsidiary can be set up to handle the service which will be ready in seven months. Acting SRT chairman Supoj Saplom said yesterday the board had urged the management of the SRT to make plans to set up a subsidiary to run the link.

Mr Supoj said most SRT board members agree that if SRT management cannot form the subsidiary in time, it should hire a company experienced in railway operations to run the link initially.

He said SRT management recently was insisting on the old plan to recruit five key officials to form and manage the subsidiary to run the airport railway. He dismissed the five-man plan.

”The board disagrees with the plan to have five people set up the subsidiary because only seven months are left.

Those five men would not make any difference. ‘‘No establishment plan has been created. What will they do if they are recruited?” Mr Supoj asked.

According to an SRT source, the management is waiting for cabinet approval to raise the registered capital of the subsidiary from 500 million baht to 2 billion baht to match the investment in the Airport Rail Link.

The SRT management, meanwhile, has sought board approval to raise the fee for the consultant supervising construction by 114 million baht from 454 million baht as the completion date was postponed for 515 days to Sept 7, 2009.

Mr Supoj said the board feels the figure is too high and wants it reviewed. (Bangkok Post)

Yes ladies and gentlemen, this is how “mega projects” are handled in Thailand.

At that point we could have 2 explanations :

-SRT is managed (ah ah ah) by total morons. They started a big project in 2005, but never thought about the way to manage the new line. Yes you’re not hallucinating : the work started indeed in 2005 !

-SRT is managed (ah ah ah) by… total corrupted people. They want to give the honey pot to a “private company” in which they would have of course some… very personal interests.

So which solution you think is closer to reality ?

๐Ÿ˜‰

Ah ! I can hear a small voice in the back…. “Both”.

Indeed. The reality could be “both”. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Mega-projects : will the mega-wait for financing end in 2 months… ?

What’s up doc on the mega-projects front ?

Not much.

Political stalemate, judicial uncertainty, temple and border hysteria, running inflation, subsidies… the country is falling a part, but the “Mega-Projects” are more than ever the Light In The Darkness for lonely and lost politicians. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Peruse some previous articles in my special category, in order to catch up with this on going story (a… few years already).

I wrote many times that it’s useless to draw Mega-Plans of Mega-Hundred of kilometers of new train lines… without speaking about… MONEY.

Money.

No money, no honey, no Mega-Projects. They should know by now. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The government will start a bidding process for a total of four mass transit rail projects by the end of this year, Finance Minister Surapong Suebwonglee said Wednesday.

He said he talked with Transport Minister on Tuesday and discussed about the source of funding.

“We hope to be able to conclude on the funding sources within two months from now,” he said.

After that, the bidding process can begin, he added. (Bangkok Post)

Indeed. After. And indeed “we hope“. ๐Ÿ˜‰

So see you in october for the source of fundings.

And the next chapter of this thai drama.

Mega-Projects : no money in Thailand… so let’s ask foreigners

We left the “Financing The Mega Projects Saga” there

The authorities (one of the problem is that there are… too many) modify the schemes too often, proving that they have no clue about the best way (if any) to finance those megalomaniac projects (1 700 billions THB, or 800 or 555, the total is not even known with precision).

The Public Debt Management Office (PDMO) will increase overseas borrowing to finance the mass transit megaprojects, according to director-general Pongpanu Svetarundra.

He said rising domestic interest rates and higher private investment demand would make overseas borrowing from lenders such as the Japanese Bank for International Co-operation, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank more cost-effective.

And of course, the foreign lenders are waiting for them ! Everything is prepared : even tea and cookies. ๐Ÿ˜‰ They just can’t find the money in Thailand, so they naturally assume that the world is there, ready to sign a check. It’s unbelievably naive.

Domestic financing for the mass transit programmes will be reduced from 60% of total financing to 50%.

Ah ! I think it’s the third “change”, regarding the % (read here). It reminds me a TV game : “60 ? Nobody at 50 ? Come on make it 40 then”.

Mr Pongpanu said shrinking market liquidity and anticipation that the Bank of Thailand would soon raise short-term interest rates had helped push up government bond yields by two percentage points for the year to date.

Indeed : the party is over. Inflation everywhere… The situation is worsening… But interest rates are going up in many countries (well… not in the US ๐Ÿ˜‰ .

”A shift toward more overseas borrowing will help reduce operating costs. And it will avoid a crowding-out effect on private borrowing,” he said.

Mr Pongpanu said rising domestic borrowing costs would not cause the 1.7-trillion-baht infrastructure megaprojects to be delayed from current schedules, which map out investment over the next three years.

Totally idiotic and the usual rozy marshmallow thai bullshit : if the financings is not settled at 100 %, the project can’t go forward.

No money, no honey they should start to know… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Costs of mega projects : 10 or 20 % increase ?

13 may
Rising labour, concrete, steel and materials prices could push cost estimates for the countryโ€™s planned mass-transit projects up as much as 20%, ac
cording to Finance Ministry officials. (read here)

9 june
The Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister insist on moving forward on the mega-projects, regardless of a higher cost of about ten per cent due to the rising oil price.
(TOC)

That’s the good point with Thailand : there is a huge freedom with… figures.

๐Ÿ˜‰

They can double, or be divided by 2, in less than one month. Particularily with… those famous mega projects. It’s magic.

By the way…. beginning may oil was between 114 and 124 USD… now it’s 134… hum…

UPDATE JUNE 10
We might have a solution : 50-50. So let’s make it a 15 % increase. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The cabinet on Tuesday sent a budget request for the new Purple Line train back to the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand because it was too low, MRTA Governor Prapat Chonngsanguan said.

The MRTA had asked for an additional 15 per cent, raising its budget request to 36 billion baht for the commuter railway. But the cabinet wants the MRTA to consider the proposal in greater detail, said Mr Prapat after the meeting. (Bangkok Post)

UPDATE JUNE 17
It’s +16 %. Official. At least for the Purple Line.

Government on Tuesday approved the increase in budget to construct the Purple Line rail project. The budget is increased to 36 billion baht from 31 billion baht, according to government spokesman Vichienchote Sukchotirat.
The increase of the budget is to meet with the rising of construction cost.
The 23-kilometre elevated line runs from Bang Sue to Bang Yai. It is due to start service by 2012.
(Bangkok Post)

Mega-projects ? Mega-Power Plays

The Mega-Projects are still in the limbo… With mega delays and mega uncertainties about financing…

And now, of course, mega struggles, conflicting interests, and probably a lot of dirty power plays behind the curtains.

It’s the run for the cash.

The mega-projects could be the next large big cash cow. Therefore, it’s important that friends can enjoy some of the windfalls… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Transport Minister Santi Prompat has insisted that changes at the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTP) are not politically motivated nor influenced by personal conflicts.

He said that the changes were aimed at bringing progress to the nine-route mass-transit project, following the lack of progress during the past three months. One of the goals is for the ministry to reimburse the construction budget of Bt275 billion within this year.

Yesterday, the Cabinet approved the demotion of Maitree Srinarawat, director-general of OTP. As Maitree will be the inspector-general of the Transport Ministry, his position at the OTP will be taken by inspector-general Soithip Trisuddhi. The resolution took effect immediately.

Maitree could not be reached for comment.

Maitree is the third senior official of the Transport Ministry to be demoted outside the regular reshuffle season in the stint of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravek.

However, a ministry source said that the Cabinet approval of Maitree’s demotion was politically motivated as the government is eager to see the mass-transit project materialise as soon as possible. (Nation)

Airport link train : contractor wants 460 mores days !

The contractor for Bangkok’s Airport Link is seeking a one-year extension to complete the 26-billion-baht project, blaming slow land transfers from the State Railway of Thailand (SRT). The delay is subject to approval by the SRT board on May 26.

Tawatchai Sintoplertchaiyakul, Stecon’s project manager for the Airport Link, said the company would need an additional 370 days to complete civil works, followed by 90 days to integrate all systems.

The previous government had earlier approved a 180-day extension for the contractor to complete the project by Feb 4 this year.

So far, construction of the rail link is about 84% complete, Mr Tawatchai said.

”We need more time to get the civil works done because of the delayed land transfers,” he said.

Construction started in mid-2005. Prior to the extension, the rail link was scheduled to be transferred to SRT in November of this year, he said. (Bangkok Post)

Bad news for the boiler room.

We are talking here about a line of… 28,5 kilometers long… Only.

4 years to achieve this…

Now, you start to understand why the Mega-Projects (hundreds of km of new train lines, check my new category here for the details)… is a nothing but a fantasy that is going to entertain us for a long time…

A very long time.


Thailand Crisis

Coup, Economic slowdown, Terror In the South... The situation is worsening in Thailand. Bumpy road like often before.

But this time, it's different.

The key to understand the present turmoil is the inevitable... succession of King Bhumibol.