DHL Express, the world's leading internal express service provider, is stepping up its investments in Thailand this year to strengthen its regional hub here ahead of regional integration under the Asean Economic Community in 2016.
Chananyarak Phetcharat, the managing director of DHL Express Thailand and Indochina, said the company will invest 180 million baht this year in new facilities and to expand the service network in Thailand.
Last year, DHL spent 124 million baht to enlarge its local operation.
One new service centre will be built and an existing centre expanded, bringing its service centres in Thailand to 11.
Service points will be increased to 42 from four.
DHL has three hubs in Asia - Bangkok, Singapore and Hong Kong - where express shipments arrive from several locations and are redistributed.
"Last year was a successful one for DHL globally and in Thailand. We will continue to invest in Thailand, which is our strategic location for the region," Ms Chananyarak said.
In 2006, DHL spent US$22 million to open its express Bangkok hub and gateway at Suvarnabhumi airport.
Last year, it opened a service centre on Rama III Road, linking Bangkok with the western US and allowing a capacity of up to 3,700 shipments per day.
With 20,000 customers and 120,000 destinations in 220 countries, DHL operates 44 daily commercial flights and 180 vehicles in Thailand.
Outside Bangkok, there are service centres in Laem Chabang, Chiang Mai, Nakhon Ratchasima, Hat Yai and Phuket.
Thailand's global connectivity ranking has improved to 15th from 20th before, said Ms Chananyarak.
But she said the country should continue to improve its logistics infrastructure including ports and railways, free trade agreements (FTAs), tariffs and customs to facilitate faster shipments.
"Thailand has a number of FTAs in place, but more in-depth implementation is recommended. Strategic infrastructure projects have been identified, but executions are underground," she said.
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Writer: NAREERAT WIRIYAPONG