Truck operators in Thailand will have easier access to natural gas engine conversions following an easing of loan conditions through PTT Plc, the country’s sole supplier of natural gas for vehicles (CNG). PTT has provided more than one-billion Thai Baht ($US30 million) budget for soft loans for truck operators through state banks, according to the company’s executive vice-president Nattachat Charuchinda. Though loans have been available previously, PTT has eased the loan criteria, allowing personal guarantees instead of requiring assets or property as collateral.
The scheme is being operated via the Government Savings Bank and the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Co-operatives. The first 100 million Baht will be available only to registered members of the Land Transportation Association (LTA) and related associations, who have more than 100,000 members and will be assisting PTT with the processing of applicants. Qualified truck operators would receive 500,000 baht per vehicle but not exceeding three times their registered capital, to be repaid in three years with an interest rate of 4% for corporate loan and 5% for personal loan.
The scheme is expected to attract 15,000 applicants for truck conversions this year alone and Mr Charuchinda said that it may be extended to private motorists in due course. Natural gas vehicle numbers in Thailand have doubled to 98,000 this year, making the 2012 target of 300,000 vehicles well within reach.