Exporters and traders can expect to save time dealing with various state offices when a single point of contact with 36 agencies called the National Single Window (NSW) starts this year.
The regulation governing the service has been approved and will be submitted to the cabinet soon.
The National Logistics Development Committee chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong last week stressed the need for such a service to pool data used by the Customs Department and 35 related agencies and prepare for the Asean single market in 2016.
The committee also agreed the government should focus more on better management and cutting bureaucratic red tape to reduce logistics costs.
Deputy government spokeswoman Sunisa Lertpakawat said the committee has approved the NSW draft regulation of the Prime Minister's Office.
It requires the electronic linkage of trade data. When exporters and importers seek permission for their shipments, they can submit forms to responsible agencies.
Once approved, they need only show the papers to the Customs Department to clear the shipments.
Ms Sunisa said the NSW will facilitate trade while reducing waste, as each set of forms contains 100 pieces of paper.
Initially, each state agency will choose a product item to be included in the NSW pilot project to determine problems that may arise.
After cabinet approval, the government will issue the regulation first and later have the Finance Ministry take action to enact it.
Of the 36 agencies, 13 have already linked their information, while seven are in the process of testing their system integration.
In the next step, the system will cover all goods. Standards and regulations will be refined before linking up with the systems of other Asean members.
Payungsak Chartsutipol, chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries, said the NSW will simplify the process for traders and save them costs.
Thai logistics costs were estimated at 14.3% of gross domestic product last year.
The state has committed itself to cutting logistics costs to 13% over seven years, helped by a 2-trillion-baht infrastructure plan.
The Yingluck Shinawatra government has highlighted the seven-year programme as critical for improving the country's competitiveness and supporting future economic growth.
The government also views the plan as key for adapting to increased regional integration under the Asean single market in 2016.
The investments will centre mainly on logistics development, covering rail, road and water transport.
The upgrades are expected to aid trade and investment at home and in neighbouring countries.
About the author
- Writer: Chatrudee Theparat
Position: Business Reporter