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Suvarnabhumi » Bonded warehouse area at Suvarnabhumi airport to be expanded

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

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The bonded warehouse area at Suvarnabhumi airport will be expanded and separated from the under-utilised customs-free cargo zone, Deputy Transport Minister Sansern Wongcha-um said.

Existing bonded warehouses managed by Thai Airways (THAI) and Bangkok Flight Services would be enlarged to satisfy growing cargo demand.

The expanded areas would be located north and south of the customs-free zone.

Some shippers complain of problems with the duty-free zone because the electronic Air Cargo Community System, which is supposed to track cargo in the air and on the ground, was unable to link properly with the Customs Department’s software systems.

The zone is intended to facilitate imports of raw materials and intermediate products for processing locally before being re-exported as finished goods.

Products entering the free zone are exempt from normal import duties.

Most operators, however, choose to go through normal customs clearance and then seek tax refunds after exports are completed, although the merit of the free zone was acknowledged by industry experts.

Mr Sansern said expanded warehousing was one of the options the ministry was exploring earlier in a bid to address the shortcomings involving cargo imports and exports at Suvarnabhumi airport.

The warehouse expansion proposal would be debated by the agencies involved on July 6, 2007 before being put forward to the cabinet for acknowledgement and later to the Airports of Thailand (AOT) for implementation.

Mr Sansern said before the expansion plan was afoot, the ministry had consulted the Customs Department, the Aviation Department, Thai Airways International and shippers on what could be done to solve the cargo traffic problems.

Enlarging the warehouses would not undermine the operation of the adjacent customs-free zone. The plan could be carried out immediately with only some minor readjustments to the cargo entry and exit points.

Mr Sansern said management of the warehouses in this case was not to generate profits but to draw shippers and airlines to use the service, which would sharpen the country’s logistical competitiveness.

Aviation Department director-general Chaisak Angkhasuwan hinted at the possibility of reviewing the contract Thai Airports Ground Services (TAGS) has been awarded to run the free zone.

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