Bangkok’s port operations remain on flood alert
October 27, 2011 - LM Editorial
Container handling at Bangkok’s seaport has so far not been affected by the storm that has hit the Thai capital, although the Port Authority of Thailand (PAT) is taking preventive action against the possibility of flash floods in the port area.
According the Paris-based consultancy, Alphaliner, the threat of floods remains, however, as the Chao Phraya river overflows parts of its banks and rises to its highest
level in seven years.
“The flooding is expected to subside only by next month,” said Stephen Fletcher, Alphaliner’s commercial director. “The highest water levels at Bangkok are currently expected by the end of the month.”
As of last week, only some flooding was reported at conventional wharf 22A (the lowest area in PAT) in Bangkok while normal container operations at the port were maintained.
However, some carriers have already started to issue warnings to their customers, with a number of them advising shippers not to return laden export containers to Bangkok due to potential damage from flooding. They also warn that operations could be temporarily suspended and cargo may miss its intended sailings.
“Shippers have been advised to return the laden containers to Laem Chabang located further south and not immediately affected by the floods that are currently afflicting Bangkok,” said Fletcher.
Meanwhile, Alphaliner is reporting that a number of vessels will “skip” Bangkok calls from until November, with cargo delivery shifted to Laem Chabang.
“The floods has severely disrupted industrial production at several major industrial areas around Bangkok and would affect overall cargo volumes in the coming weeks,” analysts said.
Bangkok currently handles 120,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) per month. Last year, Bangkok port handled 1.50 million TEUs compared to 5.19 million TEUs handled at Laem Chabang.
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