Bangkok Port plays a vital role in container import-export activities in Thailand, serving multiple major shipping lines and functioning as a hub for international trade and Chao Phraya River transportation. As a result, the volume of import-export container shipping has remained operational. To improve the efficiency and flexibility of logistics operations for common carriers transporting goods to Bangkok Port and other ports in Mae Chao Phraya, Sahathai Terminal Company has recently collaborated with the Port Authority of Thailand (PAT). The project ‘Promoting Activities for Importing Inbound Containers via Barges and Promote Business Cooperation Activity’ aims to improve international Chao Phraya River transportation connectivity. The signing ceremony between the two entities occurred on January 10th at Bangkok Port.

In this issue of LM magazine, we had the opportunity to speak with Ms. Minrawi Phodee, Chief Commercial Officer at Sahathai Terminal Company, about the concept and main objectives of the collaboration with PAT to enhance Thailand’s inbound container import activities.

Sahathai Terminal, Thailand’s leading comprehensive river transportation service provider, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Port Authority of Thailand (PAT) in a strategic collaboration to strengthen Bangkok Port’s position as a central hub for shipping freight in Thailand. The partnership also aims to promote the activity of importing inbound containers via barge vessels. Sahathai Terminal brings its prominence as an international port operator and a leader in coastal shipping, with the ability to transport large volumes of containers efficiently and quickly. Sahathai Terminal plays an essential role in supporting Bangkok Port’s container import operations, enhancing the potential of container transportation in the Chao Phraya River to meet the growing demand for inbound cargo by vessel in the Bangkok area.

Ms. Phodee, a representative of Sahathai Terminal, emphasizes the significance of this collaboration in enhancing river transportation, stating, “This marks a concerted effort to drive greater efficiency in Thailand’s river transportation industry. The partnership strengthens both organizations’ ability to respond to our customers’ evolving needs and underscores our shared ambition to elevate Chao Phraya River transportation to global standards. Bangkok Port has long served as a key gateway for Thailand’s inbound container import and export activities, while Sahathai Terminal is a private river port with cutting-edge technology and equipment capable of holding Bangkok-Max container feeder vessels. The team at Sahathai Terminal comprises experts in multimodal shipping operations dedicated to supporting the growth of our customers and partners.”

Moreover, the MoU is a crucial component of the partnership port project ‘Chao Phraya Super Port Project,’ a business cooperation to support inbound import container activities for shipping lines seeking entry into the Bangkok area. Under this MoU, Sahathai Terminal serves as an optional river port for loading/unloading cargo. Shipping lines that intend to import containers and prefer to complete customs procedures at Bangkok Port can load and unload cargo at the Sahathai Terminal. The cargo will be transported by barge ship to Bangkok Port within 24 hours. Similarly, Sahathai Terminal will function as a container stopping point (Hub) for Bangkok Port. The project aims to offer additional solutions for container importers, contributing to cost reduction and shorter transportation times for importers from abroad, facilitating the swift receipt of products.

Mr.Kriengkrai Chaisiriwongsuk, Director General Port Authority of Thailand and Ms. Minrawi Phodee, Chief Commercial Officer at Sahathai Terminal Company

This partnership is a significant milestone in providing an additional solution for managing import container volume for shipping lines transporting cargo to Bangkok. The fluctuation in container volume poses challenges such as high operating costs and increased competition within the industry. Consequently, some operators choose to cancel the Chao Phraya River route or divert to another deep-sea port, subsequently utilizing land transport or barges for cargo transportation to Bangkok. However, this operational model proved to be expensive, so this pilot project was initiated to support these circumstances. Through this collaboration, shipping lines will now have the option to call at Sahathai Terminal. This enables them to manage container volumes efficiently at both private ports and Bangkok Port with a cost-effective approach. Similarly, for shipping lines seeking to expedite the transportation period for cargo to Bangkok Port, the option to enter the port at Sahathai Terminal is available, with the company managing container volumes.

“To give you a better understanding of our project, previously, barges from Laem Chabang Port and ports in Sri Racha District took three to five days for delivery. In contrast, when calling at Sahathai Terminal, the company can transport 300 inbound containers per day by barge vessel to Bangkok Port within 24 hours. This efficiency is attributed to the short sailing time of only one hour from Sahathai Port to the 20G port. In response to these challenges, Sahathai Terminal and the Port Authority of Thailand will work closely together on every operation to eliminate time and transport cost obstacles,” said Ms. Phodee.

In addition, this partnership offers three key advantages for customers. Firstly, it enables fast sailing time, allowing products to enter the industrial production process more rapidly. Secondly, it ensures cost-effectiveness. Lastly, it facilitates container volume management without minimum quantity restrictions due to the company having a ready-to-service barge. With these robust benefits, Sahathai believes that this new solution will significantly enhance the efficiency of Thailand’s river transportation industry.

“Sahathai Terminal is dedicated to working with government agencies to develop the Chao Phraya River transportation industry. The company aims to expand business opportunities for container shipping, particularly importing containers to Bangkok. In 2023, the company successfully conducted trials for loading and unloading cargo, transporting over 10,000 inbound containers to Bangkok Port, and received positive customer feedback. This achievement led to signing an MoU between the two agencies,” said Ms. Phodee.

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