Hutchison's new terminal at Laem Chabang facilitates bigger ship calls

HUTCHISON Ports Thailand (HPT) has commenced operations at the US$600
million Laem Chabang Terminal D with the arrival of the 5,556 TEU MOL
Grandeur. The new terminal is HPT's third at the port.

The new facility could pave the way for a 40 per cent capacity
increase in the largest vessels calling at the port. The current
average vessel size at Laem Chabang is 3,000 TEU, with the biggest at
10,000 TEU.

Hutchison Ports' managing director for Thailand Stephen Ashworth told
UK's The Loadstar that "some shipping lines are showing interest in
deploying 14,000 TEU class vessels on port rotations that include our
Terminal D."

He anticipates the new facility to be at capacity soon after
operations begin, "judging from many economic indicators."

Mr Ashworth added: "Including our investment in Terminal D - testament
to our confidence in the trade prospects in Thailand and particularly
in Laem Chabang port - we also expect to see growth in transshipment
volumes in the medium to long term."

On completion, the fully-automated terminal will have a total quay
length of 1,700 metres, 17 super post-panamax quay cranes and 43
electric rubber-tyred gantry cranes.

The first phase of the terminal (D1) adds 600,000 TEU to HPT's current
total capacity of 2.8 million TEU. This will rise to 1.2 million TEU
once D1 is fully operational in 2019. Phases D2 and D3 will add 3.5
million TEU by 2024.

According to HPT, Terminal D is an integral part of Thailand's Eastern
Economic Corridor (EEC), a $45 billion special economic zone that aims
to modernise the economy through improved infrastructure and
innovation. The project includes plans to construct double-track
railways linking Laem Chabang with key industrial zones.

"The EEC project aims to position Thailand as a hub for ASEAN,"
explained Mr Ashworth. "The successful implementation of the EEC
concept ensures Thailand's economy continues to grow by reducing the
reliance on more traditional industries such as vehicle manufacturing.
This, in turn, will help to sustain export and container growth."