Russia, Thailand look to strengthen transport, logistics links

Businesses hope that Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov (pictured above) can help fix Russia-Thailand logistics issues.

Businesses hope that Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov (pictured above) can help fix Russia-Thailand logistics issues.

Maksim Blinov/RIA Novosti
The first ever visit to Thailand by a Russian Transport Minister is happening in the backdrop of a rising number of Russian tourists visiting the kingdom.

Russian Minister of Transport Maxim Sokolov will visit Thailand on March 24-26 to meet Thai Minister of Transport Arkhom Termpittayapaisith.

There is no official information about the ministerial meeting's agenda, but the talks are likely to focus on tourism and business logistics.

Despite Thailand being one of the most popular travel destinations for Russians, the countries have only one civil aviation agreement, which was signed in 1996.

More than one million Russian tourists visited Thailand in 2016, which was 23 percent higher than a year before that. However, the tourism links have not helped solve the problems with logistics that plague the growth of trade between the countries.

“We deliver products both by sea and air cargo to Vladivostok and St. Petersburg, but we need to cut delivery time and improve logistics,” a Russian importer told RBTH at the Festival of Thai Culture in Moscow in September 2016. 

Russia-Thailand relations have been on the rise since the first meeting between prime ministers Dmitry Medvedev and Prayuth Chan-ocha at a summit in Myanmar in November 2014.

Ties intensified in 2016 in the run-up to the 120th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, which is being celebrated this year.

Prayuth Chan-ocha’s visit to Sochi and St. Petersburg in May 2016 was preceded by a visit of two vice-premiers in March 2016.

The most recent high-ranking visit to Thailand from Russia was undertaken by Colonel General Oleg Salyukov’s on Marср 16. Salyukov’s brief trip was the first by a Russian high-ranking military commander to Thailand in 10 years. Russia is eager to upgrade both economic and military ties with the kingdom.