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Thai International Freight Forwarders Association: Transporting Thailand

Following the rapid expansion of Thailand’s economy in the 1980s, there was a remarkable increase in imports and exports in and out of the country. 7 years after the first boom in the importing and exporting of goods, the Thai International Freight Forwarders Association was established as a way of creating structure, reliability, and a cohesive set of standards across all freight forwarding in Thailand.  

The association began following the increase in automobile parts being brought into Thailand, and then once fully assembled they were sent both across and out of the country as an export to be shipped overseas. This increased to cover a whole host of products from electronics and furniture, products for agriculture, as well as several other manufacturing segments. However, all these areas of manufacturing relied heavily on freight forwarders to transport these goods in and out of the country. As the freight forwarding industry took a more vital and active role in Thailand, it came with the issue of intense competition and lack of organisation. There was no regulation across the industry, and as such there were no set guidelines to ensure freight forwarders were operating according to international standards. Hence, in 1987, a group of freight forwarders in Thailand came together to form the Thai International Freight Forwarders Association (TIFFA), which now leads the way in freight forwarding services throughout Thailand.  

As TIFFA has developed over the years, it has established itself as a leading voice for freight forwarding due to its attention to transportation, cost, insurance, education, and training. TIFFA owns and operates a fleet of freight vehicles to aid in covering the expansive need for freight forwarding services across Thailand. The vehicles include pickup trucks, 6 and 10-wheelers, flat-beds, low-beds, and trailers. However, TIFFA has recently been expanding towards internet-based technology to aid in the new wave of growth for Thailand’s freight forwarding industry. With this, TIFFA has introduced the Inland Container Depot (ICD) which is to provide integrated services for importers, exporters, freight forwarders and carriers. TIFFA introduced this to leverage their networks with internet-based technology by providing a range of internet-related application services. EDI positions TIFFA in a better position to address the challenges of local freight forwarding businesses and business government markets.  

Cost-effective pricing and value are key concerns of TIFFA. They encourage their freight-forwarding members to look at added-value services such as final destination liability insurance coverage that protects both the freight forwarders and the customer. Consequently, TIFFA is focused on bettering freight forwarding services generally in Thailand, they do this notably through their academic institute which provides both theoretical and practical training on international transport and business. Their educational institute is all in an effort to upgrade the level of knowledge and expertise in the field of transport, which ultimately should bring more employment opportunities to Thailand in freight forwarding.  

TIFFA is also a member of the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Association (FIATA), which represents freight forwarders in 150 countries. FIATA is made up of 109 associated members internationally, with over 5,500 individual members who represent an industry of 40,000 freight forwarding and logistics firms worldwide. As an overarching association for freight forwarding globally, FIATA actively works with the World Trade Organisation, United Nation agencies and other international organisations, transport organisations, global partners, and governments. FIATA works with all these international companies to protect and promote the interests of the freight forwarding industry globally, and so by being a member TIFFA benefits from these policies and relationships too.  

FIATA’s mission is to: 

  • Unite the freight forwarding industry 
  • Represent, promote and protect the interests of the industry  
  • Familiarise trade, industry and the public with the services of freight forwarders 
  • Standardise and improve the quality of freight forwarding 
  • Assist in vocational training for freight forwarders 

We can see from FIATA’s mission that standardising and diversifying the possibilities of freight forwarding services internationally is a key concern in this industry. This is something TIFFA keenly adopts in Thailand to foster an environment of education, accessibility, and regulation to reinforce the Thai freight forwarding industry towards these global targets set by FIATA.  

Overall, TIFFA stands for the progression and growth of the Thai freight forwarding industry. It is such a key industry with electronics, vehicles, machinery, and equipment being some of the leading imports and exports for the country. TIFFA is transporting the Thai freight forwarding industry into the future with its focus on reliability, standardisation, and cost-effective pricing. Therefore, it is clear to see how TIFFA has established itself as a leading association for freight forwarding in Thailand.