JWD InfoLogistics PLC (JWD), specialized in ASEAN logistics and supply chain solutions, announces a major investment, when on July 23 it agreed to acquire a 20% stake in ESCO, a Thai shipping container port operator and supply chain operator, with PSA Singapore, the world’s largest port operator by equity-weighted throughput, as ESCO shareholder. With the acquisition, JWD will become a major international container terminal operator at Laem Chabang Deep-Sea Port and inland container depot (ICD) service provider at Ladkrabang, increasing its capability for multimodal transportation services, by land, sea and rail.
Charvanin Bunditkitsada, Executive Committee Chairman and CEO of JWD, said “This investment is in line with our 5-year strategic plan to increase capability for multimodal transportation services. On July 23, our Board of Directors authorized JWD Transport (Thailand) Company Limited, a subsidiary of JWD, to acquire 20% of the shares in Eastern Sea Laem Chabang Terminal (ESCO), a major international container terminal operator at Laem Chabang Deep-sea Port in Chonburi Province and an inland container depot (ICD) service provider at Ladkrabang. With the share acquisition, JWD also becomes a business partner of PSA, manager and operator of Singapore’s world-class transshipment hub, as PSA is also a shareholder in ESCO.
“We consider this significant investment a major undertaking this year, to be funded by the recent issuance of debentures as well as from operating cash flow. Initially, JWD Transport will take a 15% effective share in ESCO, with an option to increase to 20% within the next 6-12 months,” Charvanin said.
ESCO currently operates international container terminals at 3 locations within the Laem Chabang Deep-Sea Port; i) ESCO (B3), where ESCO directly develops and manages a concession from the Port Authority of Thailand (PAT); ii) LCB1 (B1) terminal and iii) LCMT (A0) terminal, with ESCO a shareholder of the company that holds the concession to operate both terminals. In 2020, the three cargo terminals handled about 2 million twenty foot-equivalent units (TEUs), or 20% of the total throughput processed at the Laem Chabang Deep-Sea Port. The demand for services at the international container terminals is expected to grow continuously with the recovery of the world economy following improvements in the pandemic situation in the USA and Europe.
ESCO is also one of 6 inland container depot (ICD) service providers at Ladkrabang handling container traffic for various shipping lines not located within Laem Chabang Port, helping reduce lead time and transportation cost. Revenue is derived from the operation of the container yard and import and export warehouses, along with Customs clearance services, and furbishing and transporting containers by land and rail - which will increase opportunity for JWD’s freight business and offering additional services to users of Ladkrabang ICD Station.
“JWD expects to realize its share of capital gains from ESCO no later than October,” Charvanin added. “The investment in ESCO will serve as an extension of our international freight port operations in Laem Chabang. With our stake in Transimex, a major logistics provider from Vietnam, incoming international shipping port service business will empower us to provide multimodal transportation services, connect a wide range of freight services including by car, rail, water, and increase the opportunity to expand our customer base from container port service and ICD Ladkrabang station service to provide a full range of logistics services.
“JWD is already providing multimodal transportation services, such as transportation and transfer of general cargo, vehicles, hazardous cargo and chemicals, the transportation of cargo from Bangkok to the international container terminal at Laem Chabang, the lifting and transport of containers by rail from the Northeast, from the Eastern Economic Community (EEC), as well as the industries from Rayong Province to Laem Chabang Port. Therefore, this investment will help to expand our customer base as well as both our Bangkok-to-Laem Chabang and ICD Ladkrabang-to-Laem Chabang transportation services. Also significant is the provision for using the cargo traffic data from Laem Chabang international port to further develop our logistics capabilities,” Charvanin concluded.