Ministry touts benefits of national shipping line
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Ministry touts benefits of national shipping line

The Ministry of Transport is planning to open a national shipping line by June next year, in a bid to reduce reliance on foreign ships and promote the export and import sector.

The move is in line with the government's push to promote Thailand as a hub for maritime trade, which it aims to achieve by improving logistical connections between the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea.

Yesterday, Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob revealed that the Port Authority of Thailand has been instructed to launch a feasibility study on a national shipping line by next month.

The study's results will be vetted by all relevant committees, before they are submitted to the cabinet in February next year. Mr Saksayam said if all goes according to plan, the national shipping line will launch in June next year.

Mr Saksayam said that the Marine Department has been instructed to work with the PAT to set-up the shipping line, which will help boost the nation's export and import capacity and bring down shipping costs.

Ultimately, the government will have three separate companies handling domestic, regional and international shipping.

The new domestic company will cover the transport of goods all along the Gulf of Thailand, from the south to central regions and the east.

The East Co Ltd will handle regional shipping to Vietnam, Cambodia, South Korea, Japan and eastern China.

Meanwhile, the West Co Ltd will provide freight service on international route from Ranong to the Bay of Bengal Initiative Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) region -- comprise with Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand -- and onwards to Africa and Europe.

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