Laem Chabang set to shift transport methods
Source: Editor Staff
Laem Chabang Port is taking on a new policy in a bid to cut logistics costs. It has adopted the Shift Mode policy, which is based on speeding up development of transportation links to the deep sea port.
A Rail Transfer Terminal project will be finished by the end of 2010 while new docks for coastal feeders will be ready by 2012.
To strengthen its role as Thailand’s primary seaport and driver of logistics systems, Laem Chabang is striving to develop transportation links that will accelerate the Modal Shift away from road and towards a railway system and coastal feeders, thereby helping to reduce the financial burden on exporters/importers and logistics service providers.
On-going construction of the Rail Transfer Terminal will accommodate cargo transported via the dual track system between Chacheongsao-Sriracha-Laem Chabang, and will be completed in 2011. A new dock for coastal feeders will also be built at the bottom of Basin 1, complementing the multi-purpose AO dock and existing docking facilities.
A Master Plan has been drawn up to develop land behind the Port into seven zones that will be allocated for port-related businesses and activities. Central Port Administration will be located in Zone 1. Zone 2 will house port-related businesses. Zone 3 will be reserved for parking containers and temporary cargo storage, as well as a throughway passage leading to Phase 3 of Laem Chabang Port.
The Rail Transfer Terminal in Zone 4 while Zone 5 will serve as a depot for moving cargo from one transportation mode to another. Zone 6 has been set aside for community and social activities while Zone 7 will accommodate diverse future activities. To date private entrepreneurs have leased spaces in Zones 3 and 7.
“Because Laem Chabang is a major component of the shipping system, our strategic plan, which comes under the national logistics development plan, aims to assist entrepreneurs and the private sector by upgrading all aspects of port operations and providing comprehensive support facilities in areas behind the port,” Chalermkeat Salakham Managing Director of Laem Chabang Port said.
In 2007, 5.24million TEU containers passed through Laem Chabang Port, an increase of 12.9% from 2006. All 15 docks at the port are now utilized, indicating that Phase 1 and 2 Port capacity is sufficient to meet demand. However, cargo volume may drop over the next 1-3 years due to the global economic slowdown. The number of containers loaded/unloaded at each Laem Chabang dock already declined by 20% towards the end of 2008. Port authorities are now evaluating possible setbacks from the global economic crisis and also considering appropriate countermeasures.
Developing road and rail links
The Rail Transfer Terminal, with a 2-million TEU capacity, combined with the new 150-meter dock in Basin 1, a 43-rai reserve land, and a new 8.48 km road linking Laem Chabang Industrial Estate, will reduce traffic congestion and trigger demand for coastal feeder services. Rail Mounted Gantry Crane (RMG) will be installed in the 600-rai Zone 4 and be capable of handling simultaneous loading/unloading operations at the Terminal’s 6-8 rail tracks. Subject to approval of construction design and user fees, this project will be completed in 2011.
Helping ease congestion
Double-digit growth at Laem Chabang Port in 2007-08 and quantum growth over the past 3 years indicates its potential to become Southeast Asia’s Logistics Hub and Gateway to the Greater Mekong Sub-region. However numerous constraints still require speedy solutions.
To relieve the bottleneck at the Phase 1 dock area, existing docks now have to indicate their truck turnaround times. Trucks entering the dock area will now be allowed only 30 minutes to load/unload cargo at the dock.
Subject to approval of engineering designs and a study of economic and environmental impact, Phase 3 will be ready by 2016. Phase 1 and 2, which include dock series A, B, C, are fully operative. When Dock series D is completed in 2011, Laem Chabang’s annual container capacity will increase 10.8 million TEU against projected demand in excess of 10million TEU – hence the justification for Phase 3 expansion plan.