One-day reopening boosts border trade

One-day reopening boosts border trade

Strict virus checks at Three Pagodas Pass

KANCHANABURI: Trans-border trade with Myanmar at the Three Pagodas Pass was bustling yesterday as the crossing was reopened for one day to clear up a backlog of goods.

The reopening from 8am to 6pm on Tuesday was for trade only, not tourism, and saw a long line of freight trucks loading and unloading goods and crossing the border pass which had been closed for weeks to contain the spread of Covid-19.

The busy traffic came as a welcome reprieve to stagnant trade caused by the ongoing closure of the border with Myanmar.

Many affected businesses had recently urged the authorities to relax the border traffic ban, complaining they were losing substantial amounts of income as a result of it.

Transport companies agreed that the one-day reopening had helped reinvigorate trade to a certain extent as they were at least able to move some of their backlog of goods from warehouses to destinations in both countries.

Provincial governor Jirakiat Phum- sawat had approved the one-day reopening with strict health check and vehicle spraying procedures in place.

The movement of vehicles and their cargo was closely monitored by officials from an international disease control station set up at the pass.

Vehicles were sprayed with disinfectant and the drivers had their temperatures checked before they crosssd the border and again when they returned later in the day.

Other mandatory practices included handwashing, wearing of face masks and social distancing.

Most of the vehicles were pickup trucks modified for transporting the goods through mountainous areas on the Myanmar side.

Goods exported to Myanmar are mostly frozen prawns, cooking oil, condiments, instant noodles and detergent while imports include bamboo, onions and garlic.

The owner of a local business transporting frozen prawns said he was in deep financial trouble after trans-border trade had ground to a halt. He said he and at least 10 other local transport operators had been thrown a lifeline by the one-day reopening.

Meanwhile, in Prachuap Khiri Khan, barbed wire fences have been installed along 61 natural border areas with Myanmar to prevent the transmission of Covid-19, authorities said.

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