Meet the expert: Sirapon Amornsakaya on our automotive logistics services in Thailand and Myanmar
As vice president of WW Solutions in Thailand and Myanmar and head of our joint venture MCW Logistics Solutions, Sirapon Amornsakaya understands the regional challenges and automotive supply chain needs of OEMs in Southeast Asia.
Can you tell us a bit about your background and what attracted you to automotive logistics?
I studied industrial engineering at university but by the time I graduated in 1998, the automotive industry in Thailand was booming, with automotive OEMs from Japan, Europe and the US starting to invest in production and manufacturing here. In fact, it wasn’t long before Thailand earned itself the nickname of the ‘Detroit of the East’, which is how I fell into automotive logistics, eventually joining Wallenius Wilhelmsen in Thailand in 2008.
What does your role entail?
Essentially, I lead our logistics services in Thailand and Myanmar, helping to ensure that our automotive customers have visibility at every stage of the finished vehicle supply chain and that safety standards are upheld. I oversee our yard management and technical services, as well as inland distribution. In Myanmar, our operations are small, with a fleet of just five trucks, while in Thailand we have 67 trucks and distribute around 120,000 cars each year, whether that’s domestically, cross-border to Laos and Cambodia, or to ports for overseas exports.
I also head up MCW Logistics Solutions, our joint venture with Mitsubishi Corporation Lt (MCLOGI), which was formed in Thailand in April 2020.
What are the biggest needs of OEMs operating in the Southeast Asia market?
The market dynamic in Thailand has changed in recent years. Whereas once it was dominated by Japanese, European and North American OEMs, Chinese OEMs are emerging as a newcomer, with a focus on electric vehicles (EVs). These OEMs therefore need logistics providers with the infrastructure, yard management capabilities and capacity to handle EVs safely and cost-effectively, while maintaining quality.
Approximately two million cars are produced in Thailand each year, around 50 percent of which are for the domestic market and 50 percent for exports to the Middle East and the wider Southeast Asian region. That’s why we set up MCW Logistics Solutions to give our customers access to an even larger inland distribution network.
What makes our automotive logistics solutions in Southeast Asia unique?
With access to an extensive inland network, we can ensure finished vehicle supply chains run smoothly, delivering units swiftly from factory to dealer or from factory to port, where we hand over to our ocean network. Our joint venture in Thailand enables us to pool our combined technology expertise and global reach, meaning we can meet customers’ needs and deliver sustainable, efficient and high-quality supply chain solutions. In the near future, we’re considering expanding into other countries in ASEAN to give our customers even greater access to the wider region.
How do we support customers in Thailand with their last mile logistics?
With a large fleet of car carrier trailers and 101 trailer drivers, we have the capacity to deliver cars from the far north of Thailand to the low South of Thailand in 24 hours, thereby reducing the need for cars to be temporarily stored in a depot. Our team is also up to speed with the operating environment and any potential restrictions, and we carry out regular surveys to ensure our trucking routes are optimised.
What’s the best thing about your role?
For me, it’s the fact that I get to work with two companies that both have a strong legacy, and combine both of their expertise, resources and knowledge to drive good value and benefits for our customers. There are times when this can be a challenge, but by working together what we can offer our current and new customers in terms of potential and reach is exciting – and this is just the first step in a stronger Southeast Asia network.