Over the past two decades, Thailand has registered a dramatic increase in its foreign trade and a significant shift in its exports from raw materials and food items to manufactured goods. However, the maritime sector has lagged behind trade development, with persistent structural problems and an over-aged fleet.
UNCTAD has therefore been requested to undertake a comprehensive assessment of the national maritime transport policies and practices in Thailand with the aim of improving sector competitiveness. This should ultimately also promote Thai imports/exports in regional and international markets.
The assessment forms part of a one-year national pilot project, funded by Japan, and to be concluded by the end of next year. It will provide training assistance to companies active in shipping, port operations and auxiliary services, enabling them to provide commercially sound services, and will contribute to the strengthening of institutions representing the interests of transport users.
The launching of this project follows the adoption of an Action Plan on Infrastructure Development in Asia and the Pacific by a Ministerial Conference on Infrastructure held at New Delhi in October, under the auspices of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). It is expected that UNCTAD, together with the donor country, will elaborate a strategy to further disseminate the results of this pilot project in other developing countries in seeking to improve the efficiency of their maritime services.