Global Transpark in Thailand To Speed Commerce
By Jim Puntasen, The Nation, Thailand Chhour
Sokheang, Kampuchea News,
A US$150 million computerised trade transport system – Global Transpark
is in the first phase of development at U-Tapao, Thailand. It promises to
speed up commerce in the region within three years.
The new system,
consisting of road, rail, and air links, will enable manufacturers to
obtain materials to produce goods in a matter of a few days, with network
links in America, Europe, and Asia.
"In the future, a tailor will no
longer stock materials for his customer. He could order them via computer,
from one part of the world, and through Global Transpark the supplies
could be delivered overnight, and the cutting of a suit or a dress could
be finished within the next day," said Paul Wedel, head of the Asian
Regional Office of the Kenan Institute of Private
Wedel gave his speech at an Indochina Media
Memorial Foundation journalism training course, held recently at
Chulalongkorn University for 16 reporters and editors from the
The Kenan Institute, based in North Carolina in the United
States, has been the fore-runner in organising Global Transpark projects
on three continents, in conjunction with the United States Aid
Organization (USAID) which provides funds to start each project. The other
two transparks are in Chicago and Frankfurt, Germany, where development is
also under way.
"We have chosen U-Tapao as the central connection
site for Asia. The district offers connections for truck, train, and
airplane. Also Thailand and its neighbouring countries are experiencing
substantial growth and development, and Thailand will not only be the
gate-way to the Indochinese nations, but it will also provide exchange
access to the Philippines, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, and
China," said Wedel.
The Thai government has been interested in the
project in Thailand for more than a year.
So far, the Thai government
has approved US$1 million to investigate and start planning the
construction. Also, USAID has provided an additional grant of US$500,000.
"With the U-Tapao project, the bidding on the construction of
offices and equipment is being held, and four interested companies have
been short-listed. The winning company will be announced at the end of
next month (June) by the secretariat of Global Transpark company," said
Before the construction, the master plan process will take 8-12
The Global Transpark could have some impact on the local
environment, which is as yet unknown.
"In relation to the project, we
have conducted studies on what some impacts would be on the social
climate, development, and the environment.
However, I have not yet
perceived what will happen after we set up. We will have to see when the
time comes." said Wedel.
The traffic problem is still a major issue
in Thailand, and with Global Transpark-more trucks will run on Thailand’s
The representative did not provide answers about
"The traffic problem is here. We will have to live with it-and
keep on solving," said Wedel.
For a number of people, it will be a
matter of ‘wait and see’, for some time to