Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 01/09/2013 -- Freight Growth Ahead Of Thailand's GDP Expansion
We continue to predict 4.0% GDP growth this year in Thailand, as the recovery from last year's floods is held back by a sluggish world economy and worries about political risk at home. In 2013 we believe growth will gather pace moderately to reach 4.4%. While remaining depressed relative to last year, we are a bit more optimistic about foreign trade - we now expect the real value of foreign trade to grow by 10.7% in 2012 down from 11.6% in 2011, but still in double figures. So despite the difficulties, the wider economy will provide a reasonable level of support for the ports and shipping sector. As for industry-specific factors, it is clear that a number of freight sectors will grow at a faster rate than GDP. In the shipping sector, the Port of Bangkok is benefiting from the recovery from last year's floods. Air freight, on the other hand, is also growing well, as a result of good fundamentals and the growth of ASEAN demand. Despite the relatively sluggish performance of the economy, foreign trade growth continues to be a positive influence.
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Headline Industry Data
- ?? Gross tonnage at Laem Chabang, the country's largest port, set to rise by 6.8% to 57.23mn tonnes in 2012 (faster than the estimated 4.1% growth in 2011).
- At the Port of Bangkok, BMI now projects that tonnage growth will reach 5.8% in 2012 (up from 2.4% in 2011) to 17.8mn tonnes.
- We now expect the real value of foreign trade to grow 10.7% in 2012, with imports up by 12.4% and exports marginally behind at 9.0%.
- 2012 air freight tonnage growth forecast at 5.6% and to average 4.6% a year to 2016.
- 2012 rail freight tonnage throughput growth forecast at 10.9% and to average 6.9% a year to 2016.
Key Industry Trends
Government Expected To Launch High Speed Rail Plan
The Bangkok authorities are reported to be launching the first phase of a high-speed rail project with an initial value of THB400bn (US$12.8bn). Four routes would be open for bidding in 2013, with companies from China, Japan, South Korea and France all expressing interest. The routes, linking Bangkok to Phitsanulok, Nakhon Ratchasima, Pattaya and Hua Hin, would cover around 250 kilometres (km) of track. Pansak Vinyaratn, chief adviser to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, was quoted saying 'construction work on those four routes would start at the same time to ensure their completion as planned in 2018'. He added that by that date the Dawei Port project, a collaboration between Thailand and Myanmar (see below) would also be completed. This, he said, would promote Thailand as the logistics hub of the Asean region with all the necessary basic infrastructure such as inland transport including rail and deep seaports on both the east and west coasts.
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