FRIDAY, February 23, 2024

PAS aims to link China-Russia-Europe, strengthening its leadership position in rail transport

PAS aims to link China-Russia-Europe, strengthening its leadership position in rail transport

After setting a record in the transport of agricultural products from Thailand to China in less than five days via the 3,400-kilometre-Thailand-Laos-China railroad last month, logistics company Pan-Asia Silk Road Ltd (PAS) is targeting exponential growth this year through aggressive business plans and state-of-the-art container technology, backed by partners in Thailand and overseas.

Transporting a large volume of products from Thailand to China can be done via road, sea, or rail, each at a different cost and within a different timeframe. Today, however, an increasing number of exporters are interested in rail transport from the hub at Map Ta Phut station in Rayong province.

With the newly opened Thailand-Laos-China route, freight trains from Thailand can travel 3,453 km. to Guangzhou, China in just four and a half days, making it a transport mode that is both safe and cost-efficient.

Terapong Techasathian, Assistant Chief Operation Officer at Pan-Asia Silk Road Ltd, said that on April 23 the company set the record by transporting 25 containers of durians from Thailand to China via the Map Ta Phut-Guangzhou route. The train arrived at the destination in 4 and a half days, quicker than the original estimate of six days.

“With this success, PAS is planning to increase more trips and routes from Thailand to other countries via the rail system,” he said.
Terapong said PAS came about from business opportunities under China’s One Belt One Road policy, which puts Thailand as a key destination of the comprehensive transport network across the Southeast Asian region.

“The validity of this concept was strengthened by the visit of the Chinese president to Thailand last year, highlighting the importance of the Thailand-China route and prompting PAS, as a marine logistics operator, to expand into rail transport.

PAS aims to link China-Russia-Europe, strengthening its leadership position in rail transport

To advance its business operations in Thailand, PAS established a partnership with Thai state enterprises namely State Railway of Thailand (SRT) and PTT Plc, which has facilitated the cooperation with Chinese government under G to G contracts.

“Currently only a small number of Thai exporters are using rail transport,” Terapong pointed out. “We believe that collaborating with the SRT will offer more options and increase users. Railroads can move high volumes of products safely and at reasonable costs, especially to a faraway destination such as China.”

Terapong added that PAS is using state-of-the-art containers made by CIMC, a Chinese partner whose containers have been certified for use in China. CIMC’s containers offer the following advantages:

1. Status of each individual container can be checked online via satellite-enabled GPS system, including its location, temperature, trajectory, and the products inside.

2. The interior temperature of the container can be regulated within a range of minus 30 to 30 degrees Celsius, enabling it to store various kinds of products. The temperature can also be remotely adjusted while the train is moving.

3. Each container logs transport records for up to two years via the cloud system, which can be viewed from anywhere for business analysis.

4. The containers are equipped with an alarm system that detects unusual activity/temperature or when the container is opened before the schedule. The company will be immediately notified so that it can fix the issue promptly.

The Map Ta Phut-Guangzhou train leaves Map Ta Phut station in Rayong at 10am and arrives at the Nong Khai border with Laos at 4am the next day. The train will then enter Vientiane Logistics Park (VLP) at Thanaleng station at around 6-7 am and undergo customs procedures before the containers are unloaded onto trains suited to the 1.435-metre gauge used in Laos and China.

VLP is a PAS partner that is 30% owned by the Laotian government.

“Normal trains usually take 2-3 days to travel from Rayong to Nong Khai, but freight trains with 25-30 containers can reach Thanaleng station in just 14 hours,” Terapong said.

He added that transporting products to the southern part of China via rail is the fastest and safest way. Sea transport will take 15 days while trucks take 8-9 days, as they have to queue up at China’s custom checkpoints that can only process 200-300 vehicles per day due to inadequate staffing.

“Meanwhile, the customs process for trains in China takes only 3-6 hours,” he said.

PAS also plans to increase trains from Rayong to China from the current four per day to 25, as well as increasing containers from 250 to 1,000 per day by the end of this year.

“To cope with increasing orders, we are planning to procure 2,000 more containers with additional investment by both the company and partners, most of whom are promoted by the Chinese government,” he added.

Furthermore, PAS estimates an increasing number of Thai entrepreneurs will use the rail system for product transport in the near future, especially among exporters of durians to China.

“Besides fruits, Thai exporters can also transport other products to China such as plastic beads, rubber, and frozen seafood, while the trains can also carry imported products from China such as electronic components, fertilisers, vegetables and fruits on the way back,” said Terapong.

PAS’s other partners include Asia Express Logistic Ltd, Oriental Merchant Express Ltd, Yuxinou, Eternal Asia, China Railway Express Ltd and Guangzhou Communication Investment Group Ltd. These partners have helped strengthen the company’s logistic foundation to ensure highest performance and steady expansion, as well as reinforced the confidence of customers in Thailand and overseas, enabling the company to expand its logistics network to cover destinations in Russia and Europe in the future.