Interviews

Full Steam Ahead as Sahathai Terminal Builds Upon Strong Momentum

Full Steam Ahead as Sahathai Terminal Builds Upon Strong Momentum
Logistics Manager

With over a decade of dedication in river terminal and container shipping services, Sahathai Terminal knows what their customers want and have expanded their dominion to genuinely cover all customer needs.

First commencing operations as a terminal operator along the Chao Phraya River, the main waterway of Thailand, Sahathai began by servicing both international shipping liners and local ports. Sahathai Terminal is currently a conglomerate of four major port and terminal services including, port and terminal, road transportation, container yard and warehousing services, as well as import/ export value-added services.

Last year, in 2017, Sahathai Terminal achieved an important milestone after successfully submitting an IPO to enter the Thai stock market and have been trading their stock on the SET (Stock Exchange of Thailand) since November. The purpose was to raise public funds to strengthen their working capital and expand their business empire according to their long-term vision.

We were honored to speak with Mr. Banchai Karuchit, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Sahathai Terminal further about their past successes and their future plans to become the leading river port in Thailand.

Continuous Improvement Makes Us Stronger Every Year

Sahathai Terminal has been continually expanding and strengthening their operations and services as a Chao Phraya River port operator for nearly 10 years. The river port is situated along the bank on the Puchao Saming Phrai Road side of the Chao Phraya River. Operating two barge terminals for coastal transportation and a feeder terminal for international feeder vessels, the facility can accommodate a total of 500,000 TEUs annually. They recently upgraded their operation with two new quay cranes to further increase their servicing capabilities.

Mr. Banchai Karuchit

Mr. Karuchit said: “Sahathai Terminal has just added two new quay cranes to upgrade our operations. Now we have 4 operable quay cranes with a maximum container service capacity of 75 moves per hour, an upgrade from 50 moves per hour with our previous equipment. The investment has not only added value to our operations in terms of faster and more secure services, it also beneficial to our shipping line clients with faster loading/unloading times, which reduces idling time for ships at the port. Cargo can be transited and distributed faster and it’s reassuring to them that cargo will be processed on schedule.”

On top of the operational improvements, Sahathai Terminal also runs a Container Inspection System (X-Ray machine) from Thai Customs. The facility has been in operations since April and serves both importers and exporters and alleviates congestion at Laem Chabang Port where all the scanning was previously done at. Sahathai Terminal is the first river port in Bangkok allowed to have an in-port Container Inspection System installed from the Thai Customs.

The Container Inspection System at Sahathai Terminal is part of their comprehensive service plan. It is beneficial to import and export customers in terms of cost saving, process simplification, and risk mitigation.

Aiming to provide a comprehensive one-stop service in port and terminal operations, Mr. Karuchit said: “We have also been approved for ‘Final Port of Loading’ from the Thai Custom, which means containers processed through custom clearance procedures from Sahathai Terminal are finalized. There are no further processes once they arrive at Laem Chabang Port; this is a real savings in terms of both time and operations cost. Apart from an effective operation, we also pay close attention to safety and service convenience. We have adopted an e-payment system which accepts credit card payments. While a typical port and terminal services payment is in cash only, we are offering our customers with additional options. In the near future we will also have another payment channel available via QR Code, which enables customers with the ability to just scan our QR Code at the service counter to complete their transaction; simple, fast, and convenient.”

Sahathai Terminal was also recently awarded Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) certification. C-TPAT is a coalition between the public and private sector to improve cross-border supply chain safety. As a C-TPAT certified facility, Sahathai Terminal is further assuring the safety of their customers cargo which also benefits by having priority when moving through U.S. Customs.

A Full Range of Solutions

By aiming to provide comprehensive services, Sahathai Terminal has expanded their footprint beyond their core port and terminal business.

“We have also expanded our affiliate businesses, and each has been divided and assigned accordingly. Every business arm under the Sahathai umbrella has its own management, and they are allowed a certain degree of freedom to manage and expand the business under their own expertise.”

“Bangkok Barge Terminal (BBT) is a barge terminal operator and is a joint venture between Sahathai Terminal and MOL. BBT has been granted a permit from the Thai Custom to provide customs clearance procedures for both inbound and outbound cargo. We are the first private Inland Container Depot (ICD) river port in Thailand, providing containerized cargo transportation by both truck and barge. We have also received permission from the Thai Ministry of Public health to operate an in-port food, drug and pharmaceutical chemicals inspection control station.”

“Sahathai Terminal and BBT also recently signed a contract with ONE, the major Japanese shipping line (ONE is a combination of MOL, NYK and “K” Line – the three largest Japanese shipping lines), to provide port and other involved services. BBT is aiming to fully utilize its facility and winning this contract is a major push toward their goal this year.”

Beyond just port and terminal services, Sahathai Terminal also has barge, land transportation, and container yard services. “In our attempt to cover all aspects of containerized cargo transportation, we have also joined forces with Medlog and set up Bangkok Barge Service (BBS), which is currently serving the industry with a fleet of 17 barges, 15 of which are chartered and 2 are our own asset.”

Bangkok Container Depot Service (BCDS) is their third affiliate company. “BCDS provides container cleaning and maintenance service. The project was initiated last year with a total investment of THB 560 million. The facility is within the vicinity of Sahathai Terminal and BBT and phase 1 has already been open for service since April of this year. We are expecting to finish nearly all phases by the end of this year and will be in full operation come early next year. BCDS’ services will increase our capability in container maintenance and cleaning. BCDS processes containers in a space double the size compared to the same operation conducted inside Sahathai Terminal area. The service capacity is expected to be doubled as well once BCDS is up and running at full-scale. Moving the container cleaning and servicing operation outside Sahathai Terminal area has also increased work efficiency inside the port area. A road transportation service is the last affiliate business under Sahathai Terminal. Bangkok Trucking Services (BTS) is our trailer truck service operator.”

One of the most important factors behind Sahathai Terminal’s organic growth is their dedication and attention to services as Mr. Karuchit explained: “Mainly, we attend to customer needs as they come first and are our top priority. We try to expand our services to accommodate their needs. Container loading/ unloading, warehousing and free-zone warehouse services, container yard, road transportation, container cleaning, and general servicing; we do all of these in order to take complete care of our customers.

I would like to take this opportunity to share our gratitude towards all the generous support from every customer for trusting us with their valuable cargo. Another important factor is our staff; their dedication to the work and willingness to provide first class service in all aspects has resulted in Sahathai Terminal’s strong growth and continued advancement towards a bright future together.”

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