Thailand s Logistics

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1 Thailand s Logistics Over the past fourteen years, overall international trade with Thailand has grown 340% and manufacturing trade 370%; this growth, aided in part by the nation s bilateral trade agreements with China, India, New Zealand and Australia, has led Thailand to upgrade its logistics infrastructure and expertise. Currently, the logistics industry in Thailand is dominated by foreign companies; its top ten freight forwarders are Maersk Logistics, K&N, DHL, UPS, Schenker, Panalpina, Phoenix International, BAX Global, Agility, and UTI. Size of LSPs in Thailand (Registered Capital )

2 (Source: Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board) From the figures, we can see that most of logistics companies in Thailand are quite small (less than 5 million baht of registered capital) and most of these companies are Thais. The market value of logistics industry in Thailand last year (2010) was approximately 800 billion (USD 26.4 billion) and expected to increase around 3% in Thailand is geographically positioned to become one of Asia s major trading hubs; this is particularly true for the airfreight, trucking and railway industries. Situated within a 5 hour flight from Asia s major cities, Thailand has aspired to become ASEAN s air cargo hub after opening the 18th largest international airport in the world. Combining this with Thailand s well-developed, value-added industries, Thailand could potentially continue to enjoy its high growth rate of 7.5% and face an influx in foreign investment from those companies seeking to be a part of Asia s increasingly complex trade routes. After the completion of the corridor that will link Southeast Asia with China, Thailand will witness heavy trade flows among these countries. Due to Thailand s manufacturing prowess in Southeast Asia, Thailand has potential in becoming a distribution center with these new road linkages and extensive highway system. Additionally, foreign 3PLs (Third Party Logistics Providers) are rapidly increasing their market share in the retail and consumer goods sectors. Seeing this opportunity and vast improvement in infrastructure, many LSPs (Logistics Services Providers) could begin expanding their scope of business from express mail services to freight forwarding. With the Thai government s approval to increase its budget, the State Railway can revamp the entire railway network in Thailand. Heavy reliance on trucking will then shift to railway, creating greater efficiency for long distance traveling as well as decreasing the overall logistics costs in Thailand. Additionally, because Thailand is a bigger exporter than importer, it sends out more shipping containers than it receives. Currently, these containers are not manufactured in Thailand itself, and Thai exporters must pay to have about 1 to 1.5 million empty shipping containers sent to the country every year. At a cost of about US$ 200 to 300 per container, the transport of empty shipping containers costs Thailand US$ 450 million per annum. Costs would be greatly reduced if the shipping containers could be built domestically, rather than in Malaysia, the current shipping container production hub.

3 Building shipping containers in Thailand presents a good investment opportunity not only because it promises to erase or at least reduce the costs associated with sending empty containers to their filling points, but also because the demand for these containers continues to grow. Between 1990 and 2005, containerized trade at the world s ports expanded by just under 10% per annum on average (and more than 11% in 2005 alone); this sector greatly surpassed maritime trade overall and even the growth in international air transport. Shipping container building has great promise within Asia in particular, as the main shipping container routes expected to grow in the next ten years are those within Asia and those from North America and Europe to Asia. Moreover, of the 25 largest container ports in the world, 16 are in Asia, and only six are in Europe and three in North America. Logistics Performance Index by World Bank in 2007 shows that Thailand ranks 31th with the score 3.31 out of 5.00

4 ***Further statistical analysis will be based on 2009 information which is the most update information available at Ministry of Transportation *** Domestic Freight In 2009 the volume of domestic freight transport declined to from 515 million tons in 2008, or equivalent to 1.8 percent reduction. Volume of rail transport reduced in the largest proportion (13 percent) followed by inland water transport (12.8 percent) while road transport and coastal transport hardly declined. Under the current transportation structure, Thailand still relies rather greatly on road transportation mode, making up to 83 percent of the total commodity transportation. It was found that quite a portion of businesses have switched from rail to road modes of transportation for their goods due to severe price competition among truck companies during the downturn period. This can be seen from the reduction of road shipment price index from in 2008 to in 2009 (Source: Ministry of Commerce). This resulted in the relatively higher charge rate of rail transport compared to road transport. Moreover, rail transportation has a number of limitations which have not been effectively tackled by responsible government agencies including unreliable train timetables, insufficient locomotives and carriages and less-than-demand services frequency. Moreover, a system of double-track railways for major trade routes is still under construction. Consequently, alternative modes of transport such as rail transport is failed to attract businesses. Volume of Domestic Freight by Transport Mode (Source: Ministry of Transport)

5 International Freight In 2009 Volume of international freight transport of almost all modes except road transport contracted significantly. The overall freight volume was 204 million tons compared to 210 million tons in 2008, equivalent to 3 percent reduction. Rail transport contracted the most with 49 percent reduction followed by air transport with 15 percent reduction and maritime transport with 6 percent reduction. Volume of Inbound and Outbound International Freight by Transport Mode (Source: Ministry of Transport)

6 Structure of Thailand s international freight has changed continuously. Road transport expanded consecutively for two years since 2007 with 44 percent growth in 2008 and 32 percent growth in 2009 respectively. In 2009 volume of road transport by truck across the Thai border was more than 21 million tons contributing to the double increase in proportion of road transport from 5 percent of all international freight in 2007 to 10 percent in Even though Sea transport is Thailand s major mode of international transport accounting for 89 percent of the total international freight or 182 million tons in 2009, sea transport appears to have largest contraction among all other transport modes (from 94 percent of the total international freight in 2007). Proportion of air transport has remained constant at 0.1 percent while that of rail transport has decreased continuously from 0.4 in 2007 to only 0.1 in Major reasons leading to significant expansion of road transport across border despite the economic crisis was comprehensive development of road network structure along the GMS (Greater Mekong Subregion) and ASEAN economic corridors. Such expansion of road network was in accordance with the 30 percent increase trend in inland transport all over Asia since the first half of Apart from that, it can be noticed that a number of large Thai and international logistics service providers employed multimodal transport by connecting road transport to marine and air transport until completely achieve rapid door-to-door shipment service with more than 30 percent cost reduction. For example, TNT Express Worldwide (Thailand) utilizes real time freight tracking system as a strategy to expand its network throughout 127 cities in 7 Asian countries with the distance more than 6,000 kilometers. It is noteworthy that the trend of inbound and outbound freight volume across border between Thai and neighboring countries was rather imbalance. In

7 2007 outbound freight volume was twice as much as inbound freight volume. However, in 2009 inbound freight volume increased to 12.1 million tons compared to 9.1 million tons of outbound freight volume, equivalent to ratio of 1.3 to 1. The figures reflect the fact that the Thai entrepreneurs and consumers begin to realize benefits from the import of low cost materials and commodities from neighboring countries. On the other hand, it might also be implied that Thai trade, production, and investment has lower potential to access markets of other countries compared to foreign business from neighboring countries Present Infrastructure of Transportation in Thailand (source: Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning) Logistics Costs to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) The logistics cost per gross domestic product at nominal value has been decreasing since The ratio declined from 19 in 2006 to 18.8 in 2007, 18.6 in 2008, and 16.8 in Nevertheless, as mentioned earlier the declining ratio in 2009 was different from the earlier years because the Thai and world s economy had to experience fluctuated and unconventional economic situation for the first time since the economic shrinkage during the financial crisis in 1997 which resulted in considerable contraction in the commodity volume, logistics activities, and eventually logistics cost.

8 Logistics Costs to GDP during Source: NESDB Additionally, NESDB undertakes a preliminary analysis in order to eliminate variation from the effect of the world s economic downturn. It was found that the economic contraction has an impact on the decreasing logistics costs by approximately 1.5 percent per GDP. It means that in normal economic situation the ratio of logistics costs per GDP in 2009 should be around 18.3 percent slightly decreased from 2008 (18.6 percent). This was mainly resulted from an increase in the efficiency of carrying process and inventory management of the Thai entrepreneurs. In addition, the forecast of Thailand economic situation in 2011 by Kasikorn Research Center expects that the logistics cost per GDP of 2011 is still higher than 18 per GDP.

9 Opportunities for Taiwanese According to Thailand Board of Investment, there are many investment opportunities available to strengthen Thailand s efficiency, particularly in the areas of: Warehouse management technology Air and sea freight software Cargo packing software Trucking control software to monitor the movement of delivery trucks Shipping containers The upgrading of Thailand s logistics sector is a government priority and the Board of Investment offers special promotions to logistics-related activities including: Maritime training institutes Distribution centers Enterprise software Air transportation services Maritime transportation services Investment incentives for these activities range from corporate income tax holidays to machinery import duty exemptions. (For more information on investment incentives, see Exhibition Event Name: The 8thThailand International Logistics Fair Date: September 2011 Venue: BITEC, Bangkok, Thailand Organized by: Department of Export Promotion, Ministry of Commerce, Royal Thai Government Website:

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