Thailand’s Eastern Seaboard to become growth engine

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Map Ta Phut road_Arno Maierbrugger
Busy traffic in Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate, Rayong © Arno Maierbrugger

Thailand’s economic heartland on its southeastern coast, namely in the provinces Chonburi, Rayong and Chachoengsao, has been designated to become the country’s economic growth engine and – through their development as high-tech industry clusters – a hub for industrial, infrastructure and urban development in the entire region of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, Investvine learned.

Some 300 billion baht ($8.6 billion) in state funds have been earmarked by the Thai government to develop the region in several phases, with the first phase to focus on industry clusters in Map Ta Phut in Rayong and Laem Chabang in Chonburi.

The development is focusing on ten different industries, namely automotive, smart electronics, tourism, agriculture and biotechnology, food, industry robotics, logistics and aviation, biofuels and biochemicals, digital technology, and medical services.

Investvine on a site visit to both Chonburi and Map Ta Phut found very modern and efficiently designed industry clusters. Chonburi, less than 100 kilometers southeast of Bangkok, is the location of Laem Chabang Port, Thailand’s busiest deep-sea port through which most of the country’s external trade is being processed. The province is also home to more than 4,000 factories, over 1,000 of which are located in five industrial estates, and a data center park.

Rayong, a bit further south, is the location for Thailand’s hydrocarbon, petrochemical, iron and steel industry in Map Ta Phut, the largest industrial estate in Thailand with a number of oil refineries, petrochemical complexes, power plants and an LNG terminal.

Two of the larger estates in the region are Amata Nakorn in Chonburi and Amata City in Rayong, developed by Amata Corporation, one of Southeast Asia’s leading industrial city developers. Spanning over 4,100 hectares, Amata Nakorn is home to 730 factories with 160,000 employees, while Amata City spans over 2,700 hectares, hosts 302 factories and employs 45,000 people.

Viboon Kromadit_Arno Maierbrugger
Viboon Kromadit, Director Amata Corporation © Arno Maierbrugger

“Our estates in Thailand employ more than 200,000 people and are an important growth driver for the regional economy,” says Viboon Kromadit, Director and Chief Marketing Officer of Amata Corporation.

Currently, foreign investors in the zones are mostly Japanese, Chinese and European, and occupation stands at around 85 per cent and is expanding, Viboon says. Among the firms are large players such as Toyota, Mitsubishi, Denso, Itochu, Sumitomo, Sony, Canon, Bosch, Bridgestone, Dunlop, Ducati, Triumph and BMW.

All of them benefit from tax incentives and other advantages granted by the Thai Board of Investment.

“We are constantly developing our estates. What is now a mainly industrial and manufacturing zone is being enhanced and upgraded with value-adding facilities, a research and science zone and a rubber cluster,” Viboon, the brother of Amata’s founder Vikrom Kromadit, adds.

Amata’s industrial estates in Thailand are also well linked to the company’s industry park in Vietnam, Amata City Bien Hoa close to Ho Chi Minh City.

In Map Ta Phut, the main difference is that the industry cluster is state-run rater than private. The estate spans over 3,500 square kilometers and hosts 151 factories, of which around one third are active in the petrochemical sector, others in various other fields such as packaging, agro-processing, textile, electronics and telecom, automotive and aviation, robotics, and biotech and healthcare. The estate has its own port and power plants and is managed by the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand, a government agency under the Ministry of Industry.

Assarin Laosirilurchakai_Dpt Director Map Ta Phut_Arno Maierbrugger
Assarin Laosirilurchakai, Deputy Director of Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate © Arno Maierbrugger

“Altogether, some one trillion baht are invested in the Map Ta Phut industrial zone,” says Assarin Laosirilurchakai, Deputy Director of Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate.

Map Ta Phut, as the largest industrial estate in Thailand and the world’s eight-largest petrochemical industrial complex, is planned to become a hub for the entire industry in Southeast Asia by connecting it with the newly developed, Thai-backed industrial zone in Dawei, Myanmar, expanding the local airport of U Tapao and the estate-owned deep-sea port and improving the estate’s connection to Cambodia.

All of that is part of the above mentioned development plan of the Thai government.

“We are aspiring to become a super cluster within the ASEAN Economic Community,” Assarin says.

“There will also be a railway linking Map Ta Phut to China via Nong Khai and Laos, a high-speed railway to Bangkok by 2019 and a fully operational international airport in U Tapao by 2020, as well as a railway linking us to Laem Chabang port and further to Dawei,” he adds.

There are also plans to establish U Tapao airport as an aircraft maintenance center and set another focus on the rubber industry in the area, he explains.

All pictures: Arno Maierbrugger

Srithai Superware Chonburi_Arno Maierbrugger
Srithai Superware in Chonburi, one of Asia’s largest Melamin tableware and plastic producers
Triumph_Chonburi_Arno Maierbrugger
Triumph Motorcycles at the Amata industrial park in Chonburi
Srithai bottle caps_Arno Maierbrugger
Plastic bottle cap production at Srithai
Srithai plastic chairs_Arno Maierbrugger
Not high-tech, but indispensable in Southeast Asia: Plastic chairs, produced by Srithai Superware
Map Ta Phut_Arno Maierbrugger
Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate, Rayong
Map Ta Phut_Tokyo_Arno Maierbrugger
Many foreign investors at the Eastern Seaboard come from Japan
Naphta_Map Ta Phut_Arno Maierbrugger
Naphta storage tanks at Map Ta Phut
Petrochemical storage Map Ta Phut_Arno Maierbrugger
Other petrochemical storage at Map Ta Phut
LNG terminal Map Ta Phut_Arno Maierbrugger
New LNG terminal under construction at Map Ta Phut
Map Ta Phut map_Arno Maierbrugger
Map Ta Phut areal map
BLCP coal power plant Map Ta Phut1_Arno Maierbrugger
BLCP coal power plant at Map Ta Phut
BLCP coal power plant Map Ta Phut_Arno Maierbrugger
Image of BLCP coal power plant
Map Ta Phut_BLCP Power1_Arno Maierbrugger
An employee at BLCP coal power plant checks the system
BLCP coal power plant Map Ta Phut2_Arno Maierbrugger
Image of BLCP coal power plant
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[caption id="attachment_28512" align="alignleft" width="850"] Busy traffic in Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate, Rayong © Arno Maierbrugger[/caption] Thailand's economic heartland on its southeastern coast, namely in the provinces Chonburi, Rayong and Chachoengsao, has been designated to become the country's economic growth engine and - through their development as high-tech industry clusters - a hub for industrial, infrastructure and urban development in the entire region of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, Investvine learned. Some 300 billion baht ($8.6 billion) in state funds have been earmarked by the Thai government to develop the region in several phases, with the first...

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Map Ta Phut road_Arno Maierbrugger
Busy traffic in Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate, Rayong © Arno Maierbrugger

Thailand’s economic heartland on its southeastern coast, namely in the provinces Chonburi, Rayong and Chachoengsao, has been designated to become the country’s economic growth engine and – through their development as high-tech industry clusters – a hub for industrial, infrastructure and urban development in the entire region of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, Investvine learned.

Some 300 billion baht ($8.6 billion) in state funds have been earmarked by the Thai government to develop the region in several phases, with the first phase to focus on industry clusters in Map Ta Phut in Rayong and Laem Chabang in Chonburi.

The development is focusing on ten different industries, namely automotive, smart electronics, tourism, agriculture and biotechnology, food, industry robotics, logistics and aviation, biofuels and biochemicals, digital technology, and medical services.

Investvine on a site visit to both Chonburi and Map Ta Phut found very modern and efficiently designed industry clusters. Chonburi, less than 100 kilometers southeast of Bangkok, is the location of Laem Chabang Port, Thailand’s busiest deep-sea port through which most of the country’s external trade is being processed. The province is also home to more than 4,000 factories, over 1,000 of which are located in five industrial estates, and a data center park.

Rayong, a bit further south, is the location for Thailand’s hydrocarbon, petrochemical, iron and steel industry in Map Ta Phut, the largest industrial estate in Thailand with a number of oil refineries, petrochemical complexes, power plants and an LNG terminal.

Two of the larger estates in the region are Amata Nakorn in Chonburi and Amata City in Rayong, developed by Amata Corporation, one of Southeast Asia’s leading industrial city developers. Spanning over 4,100 hectares, Amata Nakorn is home to 730 factories with 160,000 employees, while Amata City spans over 2,700 hectares, hosts 302 factories and employs 45,000 people.

Viboon Kromadit_Arno Maierbrugger
Viboon Kromadit, Director Amata Corporation © Arno Maierbrugger

“Our estates in Thailand employ more than 200,000 people and are an important growth driver for the regional economy,” says Viboon Kromadit, Director and Chief Marketing Officer of Amata Corporation.

Currently, foreign investors in the zones are mostly Japanese, Chinese and European, and occupation stands at around 85 per cent and is expanding, Viboon says. Among the firms are large players such as Toyota, Mitsubishi, Denso, Itochu, Sumitomo, Sony, Canon, Bosch, Bridgestone, Dunlop, Ducati, Triumph and BMW.

All of them benefit from tax incentives and other advantages granted by the Thai Board of Investment.

“We are constantly developing our estates. What is now a mainly industrial and manufacturing zone is being enhanced and upgraded with value-adding facilities, a research and science zone and a rubber cluster,” Viboon, the brother of Amata’s founder Vikrom Kromadit, adds.

Amata’s industrial estates in Thailand are also well linked to the company’s industry park in Vietnam, Amata City Bien Hoa close to Ho Chi Minh City.

In Map Ta Phut, the main difference is that the industry cluster is state-run rater than private. The estate spans over 3,500 square kilometers and hosts 151 factories, of which around one third are active in the petrochemical sector, others in various other fields such as packaging, agro-processing, textile, electronics and telecom, automotive and aviation, robotics, and biotech and healthcare. The estate has its own port and power plants and is managed by the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand, a government agency under the Ministry of Industry.

Assarin Laosirilurchakai_Dpt Director Map Ta Phut_Arno Maierbrugger
Assarin Laosirilurchakai, Deputy Director of Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate © Arno Maierbrugger

“Altogether, some one trillion baht are invested in the Map Ta Phut industrial zone,” says Assarin Laosirilurchakai, Deputy Director of Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate.

Map Ta Phut, as the largest industrial estate in Thailand and the world’s eight-largest petrochemical industrial complex, is planned to become a hub for the entire industry in Southeast Asia by connecting it with the newly developed, Thai-backed industrial zone in Dawei, Myanmar, expanding the local airport of U Tapao and the estate-owned deep-sea port and improving the estate’s connection to Cambodia.

All of that is part of the above mentioned development plan of the Thai government.

“We are aspiring to become a super cluster within the ASEAN Economic Community,” Assarin says.

“There will also be a railway linking Map Ta Phut to China via Nong Khai and Laos, a high-speed railway to Bangkok by 2019 and a fully operational international airport in U Tapao by 2020, as well as a railway linking us to Laem Chabang port and further to Dawei,” he adds.

There are also plans to establish U Tapao airport as an aircraft maintenance center and set another focus on the rubber industry in the area, he explains.

All pictures: Arno Maierbrugger

Srithai Superware Chonburi_Arno Maierbrugger
Srithai Superware in Chonburi, one of Asia’s largest Melamin tableware and plastic producers
Triumph_Chonburi_Arno Maierbrugger
Triumph Motorcycles at the Amata industrial park in Chonburi
Srithai bottle caps_Arno Maierbrugger
Plastic bottle cap production at Srithai
Srithai plastic chairs_Arno Maierbrugger
Not high-tech, but indispensable in Southeast Asia: Plastic chairs, produced by Srithai Superware
Map Ta Phut_Arno Maierbrugger
Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate, Rayong
Map Ta Phut_Tokyo_Arno Maierbrugger
Many foreign investors at the Eastern Seaboard come from Japan
Naphta_Map Ta Phut_Arno Maierbrugger
Naphta storage tanks at Map Ta Phut
Petrochemical storage Map Ta Phut_Arno Maierbrugger
Other petrochemical storage at Map Ta Phut
LNG terminal Map Ta Phut_Arno Maierbrugger
New LNG terminal under construction at Map Ta Phut
Map Ta Phut map_Arno Maierbrugger
Map Ta Phut areal map
BLCP coal power plant Map Ta Phut1_Arno Maierbrugger
BLCP coal power plant at Map Ta Phut
BLCP coal power plant Map Ta Phut_Arno Maierbrugger
Image of BLCP coal power plant
Map Ta Phut_BLCP Power1_Arno Maierbrugger
An employee at BLCP coal power plant checks the system
BLCP coal power plant Map Ta Phut2_Arno Maierbrugger
Image of BLCP coal power plant
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