Thailand Maritime News, March Summary

Freight rates more than doubled, hitting exporters most
Thailand trade and industries continue to suffer losses from container crisis in year 2021, badly affected both by lack of empty containers, and by surging freight rates. In the first months of 2021, freight rates situation has become even worse than it was by the end of 2020. Rates keep climbing up for both major directions of Thailand exports, for Europe and North America.
From initial 700-900 USD per container shipped to Europe, rates climbed to 1000 USD in November 2020, spiked to 2200 USD in December, and by March 2021, jumped to 3650 USD.
Initial rate 1000-1500 USD per container shipped to USA, more than doubled, reaching 3200 USD during November 2020 - January 2021.
Thai exporters of agriculture products, of food, electronics and cloths, suffer most from the lack of empty containers. Inflated freight rates and empty containers shortages are believed to prevail during first half of 2021, but Thai industries hope second half will bring relief both in rates and containers supply.

New ferry line across Gulf of Siam will connect Center with deep South
Thailand is to launch a new passenger – ro-ro – cargo ferry line in April, to connect Chonbury Province (Sattahip Commercial Port) with Songkhla Province, i.e. to connect industrial and most populated regions of central/eastern Thailand, with deep south provinces. Seahorse Ferries first ferry, BLUE DOLPHIN, is to set sail for test trip in late March. Ferry is scheduled to departure at 1400 LT, arrival at 1000 LT next day, so the trip is to take 20 hours, incomparably faster than a land ride by heavily trafficked highways and Bangkok metropolitan roads.
Sailings between Sattahip and Songkhla are to be the first stage of the project, later the schedule will embrace calls at Prachuap Khiri Khan Province port, southwest of Sattahip, across the Gulf of Siam, BLUE DOLPHIN to be joined by a second ferry, understood it will be a sister ship.
Thailand is continuing to шьздуьуте its’ long-term Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) and Southern Economic Corridor (SEC) projects, notwithstanding the “pandemic” and other disruptive agendas.
Passenger ro-ro ship BLUE DOLPHIN, GT 7003, built 1994 Japan, flag Thailand, bought in Japan, operator/owner SEAHORSE FERRIES CO LTD, capacity 586 passengers, 80 trucks and 20 cars.

National vaccine certificate Thai-China mutual recognition
Starting Apr 1, Thailand and China will recognize the validity of national vaccine certificates on a mutual basis. The respective Thai Government resolution has been already passed. Thai and Chinese trade authorities are trying to facilitate business relations, and remove unnecessary hurdles, created by pandemic induced policies and practices. China is among top trade partners of Thailand, along with EU and North America, so the continuing trade volumes are very imortant, or even vitally imortant in some cases, for a number of Thai exports. Interestingly, one of the most popular in China Thai goods is a well-known, famous fruit, durian. To keep durian exports going and growing, businessmen on both sides need refrigerated containers.

Soon-to-be the biggest nation’s tanker fleet operator
Bangkok-based tanker fleet operator, VL ENTERPRISE PLC, is gearing to greet its’ newest tanker V.L. 23. The ship is to arrive from Tongyeong Korea, at Bangkok, on Apr 4, on her maiden voyage from Korea to Thailand. She was built at Khan Shipyard, Korea. With V.L. 23 addition, VL ENTERPRISES fleet will reach 13 tankers, making the company the biggest national tankers operator. All company’s tankers are small-sized ships, but later this year, VL will get the first middle-sized tanker of some 12,000 dwt.
Product tanker V.L. 23, IMO 9922067, dwt 2883, built 2021, flag Thailand.

RCL added 6,000 TEU boxship to her fleet
RCL Public Company Limited or RCL, issued press-release in early March, informing on her latest acquisition, 6,000 TEU container ship OOCL ANTWERP. 15-year old ship was bought via RCL subsidiary for a sum of 1.03 billion baht (1 baht= 0.032 USD).
RCL is operating a fleet of up to 50 container ships, connecting Thailand to more than 66 destinations in Asia, India, India subcontinent and the Middle East, and feeder service connecting Thailand with Singapore.
Container ship OOCL ANTWERP, IMO 9307011, dwt 66940, capacity 5888 TEU, built 2006, flag Panama.

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