Page 39

Country Focus Wangchan Valley in Rayong, and the Space Inspirium area of the Sriracha district of Chonburi, which will be a R&D base for The EEC electronics design, projects kick biotechnology and off in the provinces of vocational training Chachoengsao, centres. Chonburi and Meanwhile, the Rayong EECd (Digital Park Thailand) in the Sriracha district of Rayong will focus on digital infrastructures in line with the establishment of the regional ASEAN Data Hub. Finally, the EEC comprises a Smart Park and the Hemaraj Eastern Seaboard 4 Industrial Estate, both of which will be in Rayong. For infrastructure development, EEC projects underway include the HighSpeed Rail Linked 3 Airport Project that links three airports, Map Ta Phut Port Phase 3, Aircraft MRO, U-tapao Airport expansion and Laem Cha Bang Phase 3. The project consists of the current 29-km Airport Rail Link route and the recently constructed 191 km route. The train will operate on the following types of tracks: a 181-km elevated track; a 2-km track; and an underground 8-km track. The proposed route will offer connections to five provinces including Bangkok, Samut Prakan, Chachoengsao, Chonburi, and Rayong; and will run along existing railways with a new design at the outbound connection of Suvarnabhumi International Airport and inbound connection of U-Tapao Airport. In a related development, Thailand has recently inaugurated a railway projected that will connect it to Cambodia. It is expected to cut travel times and boost trade with the ASEAN. Last year, it was reported that Cambodia re-opened the final stretch of a 370-km railway from its capital, Phnom Penh, to the Thai border. The construction of the link, amounting to US$13 million, is funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Boosting the automotive industry: production of EVs, a priority Thailand the region’s largest producer of vehicles (commercial and passenger vehicles), takes the lead, having produced 2.16 million units in 2018, up by 9% from the previous year. For 2018, full year vehicle sales in Thailand increased 19.2% year-on-year to 1 million units. However, the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) forecasts that vehicle production in Thailand is expected to decrease slightly to 2.15 million units in 2019. The automotive industry accounts for 5.8% of Thailand’s GDP. Thailand is also the 13th largest automotive parts exporter and the sixth largest commercial vehicle manufacturer globally. The country, dubbed as the Detroit of Asia, remains a manufacturing haven for global automobile makers including Toyota, Ford, Honda, BMW, Mercedes and more, which have set up factories in Thailand. Recently, Japanese automotive maker Subaru opened an assembly plant in Bangkok to manufacture vehicles for the domestic and export markets. The 5-billion baht plant is owned by Tan Chong Subaru Automotive (Thailand) or TCSAT, a joint-venture between Tan Chong International Limited (TCIL) and Tan Chong Motor Image Thailand and Subaru, claims to be capable of producing up to 100,000 units/year. It is the third Subaru plant in the world (the first two are located in Japan and the US), and the first in Asia outside of Japan. Meanwhile, an important agenda is the manufacture of electric vehicles (EVs). A 2018 study by Frost & Sullivan and Nissan, covering Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines, says though the

Profile for Plastics & Rubber Asia

2019 PRA May issue  

2019 PRA May issue