Laem Chabang, the 22nd of May 2010 [PDN]: In the meeting hall at the Laem Chabang port on Saturday, Thailand Deputy Minister of Commerce Alongkot Phonlabut and Laem Chabang Port Director Chalermkiat Salakhum moved to assure local and foreign businesses of the safety in resuming trade following the conclusion of Red Shirt protests at the site.
The current political situation in Thailand along with government imposed sanctions such as the night-time curfew has significantly discouraged both local and foreign import-export businesses from recommencing trade through the Laem Chabang Port, the 4th largest facility of its kind in Asia. Following an inspection of port facilities and a safety and security briefing with port authorities and administrators, a press conference was held to assure businesses that there was no immediate safety risk to their staff or goods, positively encouraging a resumption of trade.
Anti-government Red Shirt protesters had setup a staging area at the port were they had been staging various demonstrations during the ongoing protests in Bangkok. As a result, many companies moved to cease trade through the port with many ship crews also fearing for their own safety as a result of the protests. Mr. Phonlabut moved to assures traders that the Red Shirt protesters had now been moved-on, further explaining that security at the facility had been increased to prevent any further gatherings. Port authorities have also been increased to ensure the safety and security for staff and visiting personnel.
Prior to the recent protests and unabated violence in the Thai capital, Laem Chabang port had reported half-yearly growth figures of up to 20% on the same period in 2009. Port administrators now fear that a continued reluctance to resume trade through the facility, especially from the international community, will negate the previous positive half-yearly growth figures.
Three key areas that the port authorities have been strictly advised to monitor, in an attempt to rebuild confidence in the transportation and commercial trade industry, are; Increased monitoring of shipping lanes in and out of the port, constant surveillance of docked vessels and increased personal protection for the ships crews.