The Netherlands Thai Chamber were the host for the monthly combined chambers of commerce networking held at the Rim Suan meeting room at the Amari Garden Pattaya on Friday the 27th of May.
The combined chambers brings together members from the British, American, Australian, Belgium, Canadian, German, South African and of course the Netherlands Thai Chamber.
A brief introduction was given by the executive director of the Netherlands Thai Chamber, Hans van den Born, who stated with a wry smile that as they are Dutch, they try to do things a bit differently, hence instead of just the normal networking he stated that two guest speakers would be making a short presentation.
First up was Porametee Vimolsiri, Ph.D., the Secretary General of National Economic and Social Development Board, who gave an informative talk about development plans for the future of the Eastern Seaboard. These included expansion at Laem Chabang Port with the Singe Rail Transport Operator, a 2,944 million baht project to help reduce time and logistics. It is scheduled to be completed by 2017.
Also a new 106 km dual rail track from Khengkoi to Chachoengsao, which will cost approximately 11.348 billion baht and be completed by February 2019.
Porametee said expansion work being carried out at U-Tapao Airport includes a new terminal able to handle 3 million passengers a year, a new apron, and new ground service and cargo facilities. He also gave details of the new highway which will link Highway 7 with the Maptaphut Industrial Estate. These plans are well underway and also include upgrades to the electricity network and telecommunications.
Looking further ahead to 2021, there are plans for a 193km high speed rail link from Bangkok to Rayong at a cost of 152.712 billion baht.
Porametee Vimolsiri was very well received and showed great confidence in the Eastern Seaboard as a hub for business.
He was followed by Sander Van der Linden, Plant Director for Corbion Purac Thailand, the number 2 investor in the Eastern Seaboard in 2016. They provide biobased ingredients for food and biochemicals.
Van der Linden informed the guests that Corbion is the global market leader in lactic acid, lactic acid derivatives and lactides, and a leading company in functional blends containing enzymes, emulsifiers, minerals and vitamins. In 2013, Corbion had a workforce of 1,885 employees, of which 210 were in Thailand.
The networking was sponsored by Best Global Logistics who offer customized, industry-specific supply chain solutions.
The staff at the Amari were constantly doing the rounds topping up beer and wine glasses and serving delicious snacks.
Many familiar faces from the business and hospitality sector were present including Amari Pattaya General Manager Robert Rijnders, Holiday Inn GM Kate Gerits, and the ever convivial Rene Pisters from the Thai Garden Resort, along with Jeffrey Gaudiano, Managing Director of BMW Group Manufacturing Thailand.
Representing the South African Chamber was Graham MacDonald, and on behalf of the British contingent, Greg Watkins, Simon Matthews and Mark Bowling.