BANGKOK – The Cabinet has ordered that a “Rail Transport Department” be set up within this year to separate the roles of rail regulator and rail operator.
At this week’s Cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, the government saw fit to order the Ministry of Transport to expedite the establishment of a Department of Rail Transport to be completed by the end of this year.
The order follows a recommendation from the State Enterprise Policy Commission pointing out that the management of rail transport in the nation is no longer efficient or financially sound. It explained that existing transport offices must both handle rail and road transport with the latter making up 80 percent of goods transport in the nation. The commission pointed out a specialized office would increase efficiency in rail transport and help to shift goods transport back to rails, which provide a slew of benefits.
The Cabinet order effectively authorizes the Office of Rail Development to be elevated into a Department of Rail Transport and calls for regulator roles and operator roles to do with rail transport to be separated among relevant agencies. It also empowers the new department with authority pertaining to rail transport management in the Kingdom.