Container crisis and Thailand response

Thailand total containers volume in 2020 decreased 5.49% from 2019 volume, 9,574,612 TEU and 10,130,294 TEU respectively. Import fell 4.85%, from 5,161,659 TEU in 2019 to 4,911,102 TEU in 2020. Export decreased from 4,968,636 TEU to 4,663, 510 TEU, – 6.14%.
As of December 2020, Europe’s fees increased by 160-220 per cent compared to the previous year, while fees in Asia rose by 17-100 per cent. Australian fees increased by 112-197 per cent and in the United States it went up by 73-196 per cent.
According to Shanghai Containerized Freight Index (SCFI), which compared freight rates during the November period, most routes freights have increased, including the European route from US $ 1,140 to US $ 2,091, US-West route 3,849 to US $ 3,880 and the US-East route from US $4,641 to US $ 4,708.
Among main problems Thai exporters are facing, are the lack of empty containers and uncontrolled, unpredictable growth of freight rates. Thai business together with Government, work out several short- and long-term solutions.
Minister Cabinet already responded, in attempts to reduce exporters burdens and attract more container ships with empty containers to Thailand.
Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said the Port Authority of Thailand (PAT) has agreed to reduce the port fee for exporters, and also to permit and facilitate ships more than 300 meter-long, but not exceeding 400 meters, to enter Laem Chabang deep-sea port to import more empty containers, new regulations coming into force starting Feb 9. According to new regulation, operator of the ship will be able to file for, and get a permission, within 1 day.
He said the ministry also aims to promote and stimulate exports to China via land transport, and will speed up negotiations with Laos, Vietnam and China to facilitate land transport through the borders.
Attracting large container ships to Laem Chabang is two-aimed – to get more empty containers; and to ship containers with export cargoes directly to countries of destination, skipping transshipment in regional hubs such as Singapore, Malaysian port, Hong Kong, etc., and by that, reducing freight costs.
Exporters are advised to ship their goods, whenever possible, by reefers, general cargo ships or bulk carriers, avoiding container shipments. Perishable goods, such as fruits, might be shipped by conventional reefers. Wood or rubber also can be shipped without being containerized, by general cargo ships or bulk carriers.
Expansion of land transportation to replace sea transportation with such countries as Vietnam, China, Myanmar, is also in the agenda, to be promoted with a number of incentives aimed at releaxing bureaucratic barriers.
One more project envisions expanding of existing empty containers parks, and establishing new ones, with the aim of achieving status of regional hub of empty containers storage and repairs.

National carrier – a natural and most effective response
There was one more proposal, one more project, discussed on ministerial level, and though it didn’t catch public/MSM attention and follow up it deserves, it is in the long-term perspective, most consequential. It is the project of establishing nation’s own carrier, with apparent goal of guaranteeing safety of nation’s import/export trade. Nation carrier, indeed, seems to be inevitable solution for any nation, heavily dependent on import/export trades. The ongoing artificial container crisis is a model of the future, dominated by monopolies – with no reliable carrier, no reliable, predictive freight rates, and even no guaranteed safe shipment. When the right moment came, liner carriers – those few giants who rule the remnants of market – sent shipment costs to the skies, without the slightest concerns about world and nations economies, or woes of their clients. They don’t care about their clients, even the biggest ones. Because, obviously, clients (shippers) simply don’t have any alternative, any other option except monopolist monsters.
I personally, have no doubt, that any nation recovering from the ruins and havoc wreaked by UN/WEF insane plans and inevitable collapse of these plans, will have to rely on its’ own resources, during recovery. National carriers are a natural choice – they’ll be small enough to exploit size-safe ships, and to care about each and every their client, whether major or minor. Even if monsters or some of them, survive global economy collapse, any sound-minded nation can’t depend on their whims and bottomless greed.
Monopolist monster ships were supposed to reduced transportation costs – well, they didn’t, and as soon as they monopolized ocean liner shipping, freight rates started to grow, long before “pandemic” crisis. “Pandemic” crisis in container shipping came up to be a perfect storm, a joint creation of monopolists, of China producers, of UN/WEF/EU planners and of politicians, plus their servants – health services and trade unionists.
Technically, giant ships do reduce transportation costs per container, but in physical reality, other laws come into force, laws of monopolism and crony capitalism. These laws destroy the market, competition, safety and any cost reduction, allegedly brought by ships size increase.
For all intents and purposes, national carriers will be a natural and most effective response to future economy and shipping chaos, created by NWO maniacs.
Thailand is a home to at least one successful container shipping company, operating regionally and connecting Thailand’s major ports to Singapore as a hub for transshipment. It means, that the nation has a basis for establishing its’ own trans-oceanic container shipping company, when the need comes.

March 2021

Author

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My name is Mikhail Voytenko, I’m Russian, professional merchant marine navigator, by education and former experience. I own and run Maritime Bulletin website for more than 10 years. I've been involved in solving a number of piracy hijack cases, including the hijack of ro-ro FAINA, loaded with tanks. It was me who made public, and unravel, freighter ARCTIC SEA mystery. I've been also closely involved in a number of maritime disaster, one of them being MSC FLAMINIA major fire.