Charoen Pokphand Group (CP Group), along with 12 other companies, have been selected to build a $6.8bn high-speed rail project in Thailand.

The Thailand Government awarded the contract following months of negotiations after the companies submitted a joint bid in November.

The high-speed rail project involves connecting Suvarnabhumi International and Don Mueang International airports in Bangkok with U-Tapao airport located in the eastern province of Rayong.

The project will provide connections to Bangkok, Samut Prakan, Chachoengsao, Chonburi and Rayong.

The project forms part of the government’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) initiative. The initiative, headed by Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, involves supporting the development and transformation of physical and social infrastructure.

The proposal has been sent for cabinet approval, Reuters reported citing EEC Secretary-General Kanit Sangsubhan.

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The high-speed train project is expected to be completed in five years. Following the completion, the partnership will operate the project for 45 years.

“The project will provide connections to Bangkok, Samut Prakan, Chachoengsao, Chonburi and Rayong.”

Once completed, the high-speed rail line will enable travelling from U-Tapao airport to Bangkok in 45 minutes.

CP Group’s partners in the project include China’s CITIC Group, China Railway Construction, South Korea’s Hyundai, Germany’s Siemens, Italian-Thai Development Pcl and Japan Bank for International Cooperation.

The EEC project, valuing $45bn, focuses on three eastern provinces of Chachoengsao, Chonburi and Rayong. It aims to make the eastern part of the country a hub of hi-tech industries including robotics, electric vehicles and aircraft maintenance.

Last month, Thailand opened a cross-border railway link to Cambodia after 45 years.