Transport Ministry: Euro crisis could delay transport projects

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BANGKOK, 2 July 2012 – The Ministry of Transport will propose a debt restructuring plan to the Prime Minister while admitting that the Euro-zone crisis could have an impact on Thailand’s aircraft procurement and electric rail route construction.

Permanent Secretary for Transport Silpachai Jarukasemratana said that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will be summoning all ministers for a meeting to discuss preparations for possible effects from the Euro-zone crisis on July 4. He expressed belief that the transport sector will not be affected as much as tourism, industrial production and commerce.

Nonetheless, to not underestimate the situation, Mr. Silpachai revealed that the Transport Ministry has ordered all of its agencies to collect related data in order to draw up a restructuring plan for debts incurred by financial transactions or trading with European countries. An emergency plan will also be formulated for any imminent circumstances, such as a drastic decrease in revenue by 10-30 percent.

According to the Permanent Secretary, the transport-related company to be most affected by the Euro-zone crisis is Thai Airways International, given most of the loan held by the company is in the Euro currency. He thus suggested that Thai Airways convert the money into other currencies otherwise Thailand will be in debt.

Other issues to be worried about also include delays in aircraft delivery to Thai Airways as well as in the construction of seven electric train routes, which will likely come as a consequence of the economic crisis in Europe.

In order to reduce the future risk, the Transport Ministry is set to gather information and present it to the Ministry of Finance, so that Thailand is able to cope with the crisis effectively.