Call for truck limits to be eased
published : 18 Mar 2020 at 18:37
writer: Lamonphet Apisitniran
Retailers are calling for the government to ease the limits on trucks entering the capital to allow manufacturers to keep supermarket shelves full, as panic buying in recent days disrupted the supply chain for basic necessities.
Trucks with 10 wheels or more are allowed to enter the city between 10am and 3pm, and trailer trucks and those transporting dangerous goods between 9pm and 6am.
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said the government will call the Land Transport Department, the Transport Ministry and related state agencies to negotiate this week about easing the limits for trucks entering the city.
The government expects to propose the recommendation to the cabinet for approval next week.
On Wednesday, the Industry Ministry held a meeting with government agencies, the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), Unilever, Charoen Pokphand Foods Plc, Central Group, PTT Group, Thai Beverage Plc, Saha Pathanapibul Plc and the Thai Retailers Association to coordinate efforts over the coronavirus outbreak.
“Domestic and international retailers based in Thailand are requesting the government extend the limit of travel time of trucks with 10 wheels, trucks with six wheels and pickups to transfer products from manufacturers to department stores, aiming to avoid food product shortages,” he said.
Since the outbreak began to accelerate, people around the world including Thailand have been stocking up on food, medicine and other supplies.
Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit plans to make a request to the cabinet to extend the travel time for big trucks for two months, which he said is enough to solve the shelve shortages.
“There are enough food and processed products in Thailand to feed people in the country,” he said. “Thailand is a food exporting country so people should not worry about food shortages and should not panic by hoarding food.”
Chatrchai Tuongratanaphan, an adviser to the Thai Retailers Association, agreed with the policy of extending the travel time for large trucks.
“The government can do it for a short time because it will ease the panic of those worried about the coronavirus situation,” he said.
Vathit Chokwatana, president of Saha Pathanapibul, said his company agrees with the measure to extend the times trucks can enter the city and insisted manufacturers have enough capacity for domestic food supply.
“People should not be concerned about shortages, as Thailand’s food manufacturers have enough materials to make food for people in Thailand and overseas,” he said.
Busaba Chirathivat, executive vice-president for corporate communications at Central Group, acknowledged that transport and logistics is a major factor that causes shortages.
“If we can solve this problem, Thailand will not face a panic,” she said. “The government should support the business sector also, so we will keep the shelves full.”