The Commerce Ministry is scheduled to relaunch 200 mobile grocery stores on Tuesday, selling essential consumer goods in Greater Bangkok as part of the government’s efforts to lower people’s cost of living and curb the spread of Covid-19.
The ministry has also established two ad-hoc committees to supervise consumer goods prices at both the national and provincial level to prevent hoarding and profiteering by traders.
Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said after Greater Bangkok, the ministry plans to introduce 400-500 mobile grocery stores in provincial areas.
Consumer products include packaged rice, eggs, vegetable oil, refined sugar, instant noodles, canned fish and hand sanitiser gel.
The mobile grocery stores operated on pickups will peddle consumer goods along sois, in villages and communities.
In 2018 the ministry initiated mobile grocery stores as part of efforts to enhance the competitiveness of pickups that sell consumer goods.
The mobile grocery stores complement the ministry’s Thong Fah Pracha Rat low-priced shops.
Participating pickups are required to register with the Department of Land Transport and use standardised scales or other weighing apparatus to ensure fairness.
Participants must also show proof of annual car tax renewal, while drivers must carry an authorised driving licence.
The ministry also provides support in connecting fresh markets and central markets through the Internal Trade Department, as well as helping manufacturers supply products at fair prices to participating pickups.
In a related development, Mr Jurin said the ministry has scheduled a meeting on Wednesday of the Joint Public-Private Sector Consultative Committee on Commerce to get an update on manufacturers’ production capacity, product distribution and exports.
The committee will also discuss how to speed up the transport of consumer goods to department stores and supermarkets, as well as promote and upgrade home delivery services.
Last week, retailers urged the government ease the limits on trucks entering the city 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.
Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit himself plans to request the cabinet extend the travel time for big trucks for two months.