Laem Chabang Port is the heart of the shipping industry in Thailand and is the largest and busiest port in Thailand. It has many terminal operators, but few have been around since the beginning like Eastern Sea Laem Chabang Terminal Company Limited (ESCO). ESCO has been an established fixture since the beginning, and has continually strived to improve the way it operates. Much credit for ESCO’s success must be accorded to the loyal dedication of the employees at ESCO, with over thirty employees growing with ESCO since the beginning and celebrating their anniversary alongside the company this year.
For their 25th anniversary, LM was able to interview three top management executives at ESCO terminal: President Mr. Wong Tze Ping, Vice President Mr Shigeaki Kikuno and Senior Marketing and Operations Manager Mr Chai Naganidhi.
Mr Wong had this to say about the accomplishments of ESCO and its employees: “By working hard alongside, hand-in-hand, our employees have driven ESCO through thick and thin to help make ESCO the success it has become today. Their hard work and commitment are what makes it possible for ESCO to provide quality services to our customers. ESCO always believes in acknowledging and duly rewarding the excellent performance of our people. We strive for unity in our company, as teamwork is vital. ESCO also prepares for the future by implementing a comprehensive training program that develops every new employee into an expert, and ensures that the talent and team spirit of our people are preserved.”
Never Stop Improving
This unyielding spirit has helped transform and grow the company to its present day status. When ESCO first opened alongside Laem Chabang Port, the container throughput volumes were quite low. Through the expertise of the employees, upgrading of equipment and use of technology, ESCO has been able to handle more than double the volumes per year. Over the 25 years, the dedicated team in ESCO has developed it into a well-oiled machine, seamlessly delivering efficiency and productivity on a regular basis.
“We combine the strengths of each and every member of the ESCO team,” said Mr Wong. “We all complement each other very well and each brings our respective areas of expertise to ESCO. As part of PSA International’s global port network, ESCO also leverages on the best practices of PSA’s terminal operations around the world in terms of training, frameworks and standards.”
“While processes and procedures are very important, we still keep the customer in focus,” said Mr Naganidhi. “There are some things we cannot compromise on, like country regulations, safety, and security. However, our commercial arrangements remain flexible enough to cater for differing customers’ requirements. We try to instill in all employees the importance of having a personal touch. We regularly meet with clients in person; it’s all about showing them how important they are to us. Unlike most other terminals, ESCO is not partially owned by a carrier; as a common-user terminal, we have no bias, and treat all our customers well.”
Connecting Thailand to the World
Mr. Shigeaki is Vice President at ESCO and helps facilitate many of the Japanese businesses with the terminal. Japan is heavily invested in Thailand, which keeps Mr Shigeaki busy. “Thailand is a key manufacturing base for Japan,” said Mr Shigeaki. “And Laem Chabang is important for the Japanese economy. Many automobile manufacturers utilize the port as a gateway to export CKDs and finished vehicles. Also, it has been a great experience working with the professionals here. ESCO is unified in its approach; we bring different elements together and make it work harmoniously.”
“We have a company philosophy to be alongside our partners, customers, and everyone we involve ourselves with,” said Mr. Naganidhi. “We share our experiences with other terminals at the port as well. The diverse nature of the industry means we must work with many different agencies. Working with a collaborative spirit is what brings us success. We support the local communities and schools as well and are involved in many efforts, from building schools to cleaning up the beach. The port brings many jobs to the community; it’s all part of a cycle. If the port is doing well, everyone benefits.”
With the advent of AEC next year, Laem Chabang Port will become even more important. “I see the ASEAN community only getting stronger,” said Mr. Wong. “The geographical location of Thailand in the middle of the ASEAN community strengthens the country’s position as a key player in ASEAN. The Lat Krabang Inland Container Depot (ICD), which ESCO is also an operator in, helps us expand the port’s hinterland to the interior of Thailand with its rail connection to the port. We’re proud to be one of the few terminals with links at both ends of the logistics chain, at Laem Chabang Port and Lat Krabang ICD. Being at these two locations allows us to provide a more comprehensive logistics offering to our customers, which will be integral given Thailand’s increasing prominence in ASEAN with AEC.”
Mr. Wong ended the interview with these insights: “We all have to expect upturns and downturns in the shipping cycle, but it’s more important to be in the right place. Thailand is the right place to be and we expect Thailand to weather any storm. We have seen the plans and commitment from the government to develop the port into the hub for the ASEAN community and the future is promising. ESCO is committed to being a part of this vision and to continue contributing to the developments here for now and the future.”