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7 Jun 2013

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Workforce Shortages Complicate Thai Logistics Development (Current Issue No. 2364 Full ed.)

Expanding domestic and international transport has fueled growth in Thai logistics business. Urbanization has had a dominant role in driving expansion in large retail and real estate business, which in turn has led to increasing needs toward the transport of commercial freight. International transport has been boosted by Greater Mekong Sub-Region (GMS) route development. New routes have been opened to facilitate the transport of goods with greater efficiency. The upcoming launch of the AEC in 2015 is also multiplying transportation activity as border trade becomes more vigorous. Regulatory revisions that relax cross-border transport controls per the AEC framework will benefit freight transport business.
Thailand aims to position itself as the region's “Logistics Hub”. For this to happen, we at KResearch believe that we must build a transportation infrastructure that can facilitate logistics to the extent that real cost-cutting is achievable. Recently, the Cabinet approved a bill authorizing the Ministry of Finance to borrow THB2 trillion for infrastructural development projects. To reach our goals, concrete, detailed human development plans will be needed. Any lack of require knowledge or skilled human resources would complicate progress.
We estimate that Thailand faced a shortfall of 46,795 management personnel and 86,378 operational workers in 2012; our projections for such shortages in 2013 are at 31,071 for management and 71,877 for operation, respectively. The lack of sufficient management resources should not last long, thanks to a rising number of logistics graduates, because universities are training more students in logistics and related coursework. Some labor shortages can also be ameliorated with new graduates from other fields or existing personnel shifting into logistics. Universities and colleges however should devise shorter curricula for logistics, whereby practical knowledge in business is included to produce skilled personnel in time for the AEC.
With regard to operational staff, the situation is graver because the shortages are greater and this level of work involves specific skills sets, making it impossible to solve this problem by filling vacant positions with personnel from other fields. Moreover, the proliferation in transport routes, with domestic and regional land routes in particular, has led to greater demand for logistics personnel. This shortfall is a matter of urgency that will require the attention of relevant agencies to improve professional standards and provide new incentives for personnel in this field.

The business sector, meanwhile, may consider acquiring new logistics technologies to boost their competitiveness, e.g., systems relating to warehousing, transport and packaging that could help counterbalance workforce shortfalls and at the same time increase efficiency and reduce logistics costs.

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