Thailand As ASEAN’s Transport And Logistics Hub

It’s no secret that Thailand has become a popular transport and logistics hub for ASEAN. The country has excellent access to important shipping lanes and is in close proximity to the world’s major trade routes. In fact, it’s considered a gateway to the world for many businesses. There are also many incentives for companies looking to expand their operations in the region. These include low costs, a skilled workforce and low risk of natural disasters.

Thailand is developing at a fast pace. The country’s economy is back to being one of the fastest recovering markets in Asia post-pandemic. It is also one of the region’s safest destinations, with a relatively low level of corruption and high economic freedom.

Some of the ways the country attracts business include, increasingly liberal investment policies, relatively low taxes and a welcoming attitude towards foreign businesses.

Thailand’s openness to foreign investors has allowed it to attract a number of multinational companies such as Coca-Cola, Toyota, Ducati, Sony, Western Digital and LG.

The Thailand Logistics & Transport Industry Association’s (TLITA) saw the benefit of promoting Thailand to the world as a logistics hub and years ago launched its “Thailand Logistics Roadmap 2014-2030”. The roadmap lays out the way forward for the logistics and transport industry. And while times have obviously changed with economic, political and technological shifts, not to mention the COVID pandemic, Thailand still remains committed to connecting the region.

Back in late March 2015, Thailand unveiled its new “Thailand 4.0” strategy that focuses on sustainable growth in the economy and industrialization. The government is still implementing this evolving plan. Transportation and logistics remain critical components.

According to the Royal Thai Embassy in Washington it contains four pillars:

1. Economic Prosperity: to create a value-based economy that is driven by innovation, technology and creativity. The model aims to increase Research and Development (“R&D”) expenditure to 4% of GDP, increase economic growth rate to full capacity rate of 5-6% within 5 years, and increase national income per capita from 5,470 USD in 2014 to 15,000 USD by 2032.

2. Social Well-being: to create a society that moves forward without leaving anyone behind (inclusive society) through realization of the full potential of all members of society. The goals are to reduce social disparity from 0.465 in 2013 to 0.36 in 2032, completely transform to social welfare system within 20 years and develop at least 20,000 households into “Smart Farmers” within 5 years.

3. Raising Human Values: to transform Thais into “Competent human beings in the 21sth Century” and “Thais 4.0 in the first world. Measures under Thailand 4.0 will raise Thailand HDI from 0.722 to 0.8 or the top 50 countries within 10 years, ensure that at least 5 Thai universities are ranked amongst the world’s top 100 higher education institution within 20 years.

4. Environmental Protection: to become a livable society that possesses an economic system capable of adjusting to climate change and low carbon society. The targets are to develop at least 10 cities into the world’s most livable cities.

In addition to this policy, the Thai government has also announced a bold transport and logistics plan called the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).

The government is developing new growth hubs by starting with the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) which covers Rayong, Chonburi, and Chachoengsao provinces, with a total area of 13,000 square kilometers. The government is also set to accelerate the area’s readiness to support all aspects of investment and economic growth, and fully expects that the EEC will be an important center for trade, investment, regional transportation, and a strategic gateway to Asia.