Laem Chabang port expands to tap Southeast Asia trade

Laem Chabang port expands to tap Southeast Asia trade

HONG KONG — Laem Chabang port is undertaking three key infrastructure projects worth $167 million to improve efficiency and expand its position as a hub of trade for fellow Southeast Asia trade bloc members, according to the port director Montree Rerkjamnian.

Thailand’s busiest container port is currently seeking a contractor for a $50 million container terminal development that will expand terminal handling capacity by 300,000 twenty-foot-equivalent units by 2018, according to local media.

A railway support project, costing $81 million will also be ready by 2018, with a second phase ready by 2022, the report said. A further $36 million was being spent on increasing the number of cargo-check gates to 31 to help alleviate congestion within the port area.

Located just 80 miles from Bangkok, Laem Chabang is currently ranked 22 on JOC.com's ranking of the world’s busiest container ports. The port handled 6.58 million TEUs in 2014. Hutchison Ports Thailand manages and operates four container terminals at the port.

The government has plans for additional projects in the area surrounding the port to support its development into a larger hub for trade between members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, according to Rerkjamnian. ASEAN includes Brunei, Malyasia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

Meanwhile, plans for construction of the long-touted deep-sea port at Pak Bara on Thailand’s west coast near its southern border with Malaysia are once again proving controversial.
 
Due to begin construction in 2016, the Pak Bara sea port is part of a planned railway-highway land bridge to link the Andaman Sea with a port in Songkhla province on the Gulf of Thailand. A container shipped by the route would not need to be carried on a vessel through the Malacca Straits.
 
The project is controversial as locals and environmentalists say it threatens a national park and will badly affect tourism in the area.  An environmental impact study is underway and due to be released in April of 2016.
 
Contact Turloch Mooney at turloch.mooney@ihs.com and follow him on Twitter: @TurlochMooney.