The lack of rail development is being blamed for Thailand's high logistics costs, as 83% of goods deliveries are still made by truck and only 2% by train.
The government earlier approved a 170-billion-baht, two-year investment plan aimed at upgrading the performance and safety of the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) network.
Progress has been slow, as terms for the purchase of new locomotives have yet to be issued.
Representatives of rail entrepreneurs said the SRT has not purchased locomotives for 20 years, and the result has been deficiencies in the provision of rail logistics services.
One of the representatives asked the government to encourage the SRT to speed up rail development.
Asean will become a single market in 2015, but Thailand still has a poorly developed rail logistics system, said the representative.
The country is especially lacking when it comes to dual-track and high-speed trains.
Representatives of the private sector also called on the government to outline development plans for Laem Chabang Port.
They fear Thailand will lose out as marine traffic shifts to Vietnam.
The government has focused only creating links with Dawei Port in Myanmar and lacks a plan for the development of domestic ports.
The private sector also urged the Customs Department to implement single-window customs procedures, a requirement for Thailand as a member of the Asean Economic Community.
The Customs Department said single-window customs clearance will be tested next month.
The National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) yesterday organised a seminar on data for logistics development.
Secretary-general Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said logistics costs as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) dropped to 15.2% last year from 18% in 2010.
Logistics costs as a percentage of GDP are projected at 15% this year.
Mr Arkhom said transportation costs represent 47% of total logistics costs.
Last year, 82.6% of all goods were transported by road in Thailand and 2.2% by rail.
The rest were transported by water or air.
Mr Arkhom said the government must accelerate rail development, as moving goods by road is five times more expensive than moving goods by water and 3.3 times more expensive than by rail.
He also said the private sector needs to undertake upgrades as well.
Companies should introduce information technology to improve logistics management.
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