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Thai cargo operators move goods to Malaysia

BANGKOK, 29 Nov 2008: Cargo operators affected by the closure of two Bangkok airports are switching to land transportation to export their goods to the rest of the world through facilities in Penang and KL International Airport (KLIA).

The move came as operators try to reduce the heavy losses suffered after the shutdown of the Suvarnabhumi Airport and the Don Muang Airport on 27 Nov that caused a huge cargo backlog, with an estimated Bt10 billion losses per day.

Thailand Board of Investment said the situation also affects raw material supplies, which interrupts goods production and may also affect about 200,000 people in related businesses.

To help ease difficulties to transport cargo in and out of the country, the Customs Department will open the customs checkpoint in Sadao district near the Thai-Malaysia border round-the-clock.

In the meantime, Thai Airways International is seeking more cargo planes and add airport cargo handling equipment and facility at the Utapao Airport near Pattaya.

According to the Electronics and Computer Manufacturers’ Association, which has more than 50 member companies with over Bt30 billion investments and over Bt700 billion value in total, many manufacturers had to use the Utapao Airport or transport their goods through Singapore or Penang and Kuala Lumpur airports in Malaysia.

The association reported that during the past two days, Thai electronic part manufacturers and their customers have been severely affected by delayed deliveries and their foreign customers had to defer production plan.

An executive of a major logistic provider here said the switch to Malaysian airports involved only a slight increase in cost but the main impact was the delay in meeting delivery deadlines.

“This particularly affects electronics and electrical firms as they normally export through air,” he said.

Bangkok is one of the important air cargo hub in the region, handling three per cent of world cargo.

The Suvarnabhumi Airport serves about 100 airlines with flights to 184 cities in 68 countries, handling 100,000 passengers a day. — Bernama


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