LTFT forecasts land exports to dip
Land transport from Thailand is expected to drop sharply this year.
The Land Transport Federation of Thailand (LTFT) expects shipments overland to continue to drop because of the Covid-19 outbreak limiting demand worldwide.
The organisation is concerned food exports will be particularly affected as food products and goods shipped to China make up 20-21% of total exports, where many cities have been quarantined in response to the virus.
Thongyoo Kongkhan, adviser to the chairman of the LTFT, said Thailand’s export of food products and goods to China account for 20-21% of the total export market, most of which travels via Vietnam’s northern border.
“Even though the coronavirus outbreak in China appears to be declining, it will still take time to return to the normal situation,” he said.
Mr Thongyoo said many truck drivers are out of work as exports slow to China and neighbouring countries.
“LTFT has 1.4 million truck driver members in Thailand, and 20-25% have no work, have no job and some companies cannot afford to pay their workers,” he said.
Mr Thongyoo said China mostly imports fresh produce like dragon fruit, longan and durian from Thailand, much of it shipped by cold transport businesses that will be disproportionately affected by the export slowdown.
“The second quarter of 2020 is the high season for many Thai fruits, but it may be difficult to transport the goods to China,” he said.
However, Mr Thongyoo said the organisation is not concerned about domestic supplies of food and agriculture products falling short due to panic buying.
“Thailand is a major agricultural producer for many countries around the globe,” he said. “We have enough food for our own people, but delivery overseas may be a problem.”
LTFT is calling on the government to support truck drivers and trucking businesses amid the outbreak and the likelihood of rising unemployment.
Supant Mongkolsuthree, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), said Thailand’s transport and logistics system is unlikely to face difficulties or food shortages as a result of the crisis.
“FTI urges people not to panic about food shortages from logistics and transport issues,” he said. “Thai food producers can produce enough to supply the domestic market.”
‘‘ Even with the outbreak in China declining, it will take time to return to normal. THONGYOO KONGKHAN
Adviser, Land Transport Federation of Thailand