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Samut Sakhon factories still unprepared

Bangkok’s neighbouring province, Samut Sakhon, could experience a loss of as much as 150 billion baht as severe floods are expected to hit the province later this week and last about a month, says the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI).

About 35 kilometres southwest of Bangkok, Samut Sakhon is home to nearly 5,000 factories with a total industrial workforce of 500,000, the majority of which are employed in the seafood sector, including SET-listed Thai Union Frozen Products Plc (TUF), one of Thailand’s leading manufacturers and exporters of canned and frozen seafood products.

“We expect the entire province will be hit by floods some time this week and the water level might be higher than two metres in some areas,” said Apichit Prasoprat, head of FTI’s Samut Sakhon province and secretary of the central-region chapter.

More importantly, about half of the factories have yet to exercise flood-prevention measures, probably because they don’t think the floods will affect their factories, he noted.

Several factories are located below the road level, putting them at risk.

“In a worst case, we project the floods will last about one month. We need a number of water pumps to drain the water out as fast as we can to minimise damages,” said Mr Apichit.

A floodway is being prepared for one side of Rama II Road heading south. Mr Apichit has asked his colleagues at FTI offices in other provinces to help supply hundreds of water pumps.

TUF president Thiraphong Chansiri said the flood has not yet affected the company’s operations but it is monitoring the situation very closely.

TUF’s plant is located in the Muang district of Samut Sakhon, which lies in the projected path of the water flow from flooded areas to the Tha Chin River. The company erected a sandbag barrier around the factory’s premises and has several water pumps on standby. Large machinery and equipment are protected.

Besides preparations to safeguard physical assets, TUF has also implemented flood-relief measures to help affected employees. The company set up an evacuation shelter at the plant, and a team of TUF volunteers are prepared to assist employees evacuating their homes. Employees who cannot travel to the plant can work from home.

Source: Bangkok Post

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