Thailand may need bigger ships as China’s demand for fruits surges

Port of San Diego from San Diego, CA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Thailand is one of the major exporters of fruits to China, especially durian, longan and mangosteen. According to the Thai Ministry of Commerce, the value of fruit exports to China increased by 14.5% in the first half of 2021, reaching 1.2 billion US dollars. However, the transportation of fruits from Thailand to China faces some challenges, such as limited shipping capacity, high freight costs and long transit time.

One possible solution is to use bigger ships that can carry more fruits and reduce the shipping cost per unit. However, this would require upgrading the infrastructure and facilities at the ports in both countries. For example, Thailand would need to expand its Laem Chabang port, which is the main gateway for fruit exports to China, to accommodate larger vessels. China would also need to improve its cold chain logistics and storage facilities at its ports to ensure the quality and freshness of the fruits.

According to Mr. Somdet Susomboon, the director-general of the Department of International Trade Promotion under the Thai Ministry of Commerce, Thailand is working closely with China to enhance the trade and transportation of fruits between the two countries. He said that Thailand is planning to increase its fruit production and diversify its export markets, while China is providing technical assistance and market access for Thai fruits.

Mr. Somdet also said that Thailand is exploring other modes of transportation for fruit exports, such as rail and air. He said that Thailand is interested in using the China-Laos-Thailand railway, which is expected to be completed by 2023, to transport fruits to China faster and cheaper. He also said that Thailand is negotiating with China to increase the number of direct flights between the two countries, especially for cargo planes that can carry fresh fruits.

Thailand hopes that by improving its transportation and logistics systems, it can meet the growing demand for its fruits in China and boost its agricultural sector.

Photo Credit: Port of San Diego from San Diego, CA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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