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27 July


Thai port becomes a new free trade hub

Thailand government also infusions $2.78 billion

Photo: CNA

/NOVOSTIVL/A local unit of Hong Kong's CK Hutchison Holdings has been taking some big steps to put the Thai province of Chonburi in position to reap the benefits of at least three free trade zones. This article appeared in the Nikkei.

This year, Hutchison Ports Thailand opened Terminal D, a state-of-the-art facility, at Laem Chabang Port, north of the resort city of Pattaya.

Laem Chabang, already Thailand's biggest port, is also in line for an 88 billion baht ($2.78 billion) infusion from the Thai government, which is keen to make the berthing spot a core piece of a grand economic project known as the Eastern Economic Corridor.

The port lays southeast of Bangkok, along the Gulf of Thailand, an area that the Thai government envisions as a crossroads for trade throughout the Mekong Delta region.

The Thai government expects the added capacity to be soaked up by increased demand from an expanded ASEAN Economic Community, a free trade zone that was fully implemented last year. Furthermore, Thailand is looking to join other free trade groupings -- the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

According to estimates by German consultancy Roland Berger, Thailand's container handling volume will rise 35% to 9.2 million TEUs in 2020 and by more than twofold to 14.9 million TEUs in 2030, compared with 2015 levels.