From vision to reality: Making the Port Authority of Thailand world-class
Kriengkrai Chaisiriwongsuk, director general of the Port Authority of Thailand (PAT), explains how PAT and partnerships, ‘work like a charm’ to drive PAT to the global stage.
Kriengkrai has completed his first year as the PAT director general. He strongly believes in his next step to transform the organisation into a world-class port with excellent logistics services.
“PAT staff have great loyalty and this is the organisation’s key strength,” he said.
Kriengkrai, who is in his late 40s, was appointed to the organisation on February 1, 2022.
Prior to joining PAT, he was the executive vice president at Thai Credit Guarantee Corporation and was in charge of assisting small and medium-sized enterprises in terms of a greater chance of receiving additional credit and accessing fund resources to survive in the midst of financial constraints.
He started out by gaining a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, and graduated with a master’s degree in business administration, with more than 25 years of experience under his belt at key organisations.
Kriengkrai said he is committed to applying his experience and knowledge, especially in digital innovation and financial technology in developing PAT to become automated and environmentally-friendly ports as part of its “Smart Port” project.
PAT’s core value is “standard, mastery, agility, responsibility, and teamwork”, which he said is now the mantra for PAT.
“In the last 72 years, PAT has improved its facilities and preparedness to become a world-class port. This year, PAT is strongly committed to the development of overall basic infrastructure and port operating systems to support international competitiveness, and the capacity expansion of its ports to accommodate increasingly large modern container vessels,” he said.
In his first year at PAT, Kriengkrai brought quick performance results to the organisation’s original strategy. For the first time in history, PAT recorded a milestone by handling combined container
throughput for Bangkok Port (BKP) and Laem Chabang Port (LCB) of 10 million TEUs.
He said if PAT’s transformation shall be made, attention will have to be paid to three keyfields - employee mindset, business process and digital and technology innovation.
“Transforming the mindset in terms of building awareness and mutual understanding is the toughest challenge and needs time, so we don’t fall back like snakes on a ladder,” said Kriengkrai.
Boosting technological knowledge and creative inspiration through storytelling with real examples from people and organisations is the direction he’s taking.
“After mindset transformation, the business process can then be transformed,” he said.
“With the introduction of suitable technologies, such as Google platform, Google Workspace, and Microsoft technology, this will help improve efficiency, create a valued work-life balance as well as encourage creative thinking because the PAT staff are familiar with them”, he added.
This year, staff members will also visit different sites to get an understanding of the technological concepts used and how they can be applied to PAT.
“I want to motivate employees to think for themselves and reach their full potential,” he said.
The full adoption of technology will transform BKP from a conventional port into a hybrid port first and eventually to an automated smart port.
PAT is also assembling a “super river port” model for BKP to work with different private river ports.
Other projects are detailed design improvement of the port by adding new formats to support different target groups, creating a distribution centre to accommodate the smart port in linking logistics by sea, road, and rail, and reducing transportation costs by increasing shipments.
In the past year, rail transport under the "Single Rail Terminal Operator Project" delivered a higher cargo volume of 100,000 TEUs.
Kriengkrai, meanwhile, has devised the Maritime Logistics Institute (MLI) to produce more skilful personnel and experts to the organisation with the knowledge base and expertise in port management and maritime transport.
He is also eyeing turning the LCB into a green port by allocating about 14 hectares of land for trucks parking facility before entering the container yard area - this will help ease the congestion inside the port.
As for MLI, staff members will work with experts from the government, universities, global research institutes, and the community.
Earlier, BKP and LCB were inspected under the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), while the audit results of the port activity are to be in with the IMO’s regulation Member State Audit Scheme (IMSAS), and showed adherence to standards.
IMSAS’s key function is to build a regulatory framework for the shipping industry that is fair and effective, universally adopted and implemented.
“After passing, we must still follow the rules but it will help create international convenience shipping by sea,” he said.
Kriengkrai’s “PAT First” concept focuses on PAT’s success from the viewpoint of both staff and stakeholders.
For staff well-being, the key mechanism is applying appropriate welfare allocation, creating a good working environment, good health and boosting knowledge to develop and improve the future.
As for stakeholders, since they are the marketing arm, the aim will be to work together in partnership.
This will create a port community system connecting all stakeholders and launching an exclusive course for 72 stakeholders to join in boosting maximum benefits.
“Becoming key to the country’s port logistics is a challenging task, especially when working with external factors. These factors determine our success which is also the county’s success,” he said.
Different people’s input is like completing a jigsaw, bringing dynamic work together to maintain a suitable and competitive standard globally, he added.
“The heart of the organization is where the system is developed. I am eager to keep utilising the little time I have to create the most benefits, despite the fact that I can only accomplish it with everyone's support. It works like a charm if we all do it together,” Kriengkrai said.
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