Thailand economy damaged by supply chain uncertainty
The aftershocks of the 9.0 earthquake that rattled Japan earlier this year are still being felt throughout the Far East.
Thailand, Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy, has seen its gross domestic product decrease this year, following a 2 percent rise last year.
Supply chain disruptions in the automotive manufacturing industry are in part to blame, as the country’s GDP fell 0.2 percent in the first quarter of this year. Toyota and Ford both own manufacturing plants in Thailand, which is one of the fastest-growing carmakers in the world.
The expansion of the automotive industry has also led to a booming domestic steel business, but both industries figure to take a tumble following supply chain woes.
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Slumping markets in the United States and Europe could mean more bad news for Thailand, as the company relies heavily on exports to developed nations.
Exports account for more than two-thirds of Thailand’s GDP. The country was once the fastest growing economy in Southeast Asia, but that title could be shifted to China if exports continue to drop.
Thailand exports grew by 19.2 percent in the second quarter, which was a big drop when you consider that exports grew by 27.4 percent in the first quarter. If Thailand’s economy continues to shrink, neighboring developing nations Laos, Burma and Cambodia could also see their economies tumble.
Elon Musk's Boring Co. planning wider tunnels for freight
Elon Musk’s drilling outfit The Boring Company could be shifting its focus towards subterranean freight and logistics solutions, according to reports.
A Boring Co. pitch deck seen and shared by Bloomberg depicts plans to construct wider tunnels designed to accommodate shipping containers.
Founded by Tesla CEO Musk in 2016, the company initially stated its mission was to offer safer, faster point-to-point transport for people, particularly in cities plagued by traffic congestion. It also planned longer tunnels to ferry passengers between popular destinations across the US.
The Boring Co. completed its first commercial project earlier this year in April. The 1.7m tunnel system is designed to move professionals between convention centres in Las Vegas using Tesla EVs. It says the Las Vegas Convention Centre Loop can cut travel time between venues from 45 minutes to just two.
Boring Co.'s new freight tunnels
The Boring Co.'s new tunnel designs would allow freight to be transported on purpose built platforms, labelled as “battery-powered freight carriers”. The document shows that, though the containers could technically fit within its current 12-foot tunnels, wider tunnels would be more efficient. Designs for a new tunnel, 21 feet in diameter, show that they can comfortably accommodate two containers side-by-side, with a one-foot gap between them.
The Boring Co.’s new drilling machine, dubbed Prufrock, can tunnel at a rate of one mile per week, which is six times faster than its previous machine, and is designed to ‘porpoise’ - mimicking the marine animal by ‘diving’ below ground and reemerging once the tunnel is complete.
Tesla’s supply chain woes
Tesla is facing its own supply chain and logistic issues. The EV manufacturer has raised the price of its vehicles, with CEO Musk confirming the incremental hike was a result of “major supply chain pressure”. Musk replied to a disgruntled Twitter user, confused as to why prices were rising while features were being removed from the cars, saying the “raw materials especially” were a big issue.
Car manufacturing continues to be one of the industries hit hardest by a global shortage in semiconductor chips. While China’s chip manufacturing levels hit an all-time high in May, and the US is proposing a 25% tax credit for chip manufacturers, demand still outstrips supply. Automakers including Volkswagen and Audi have again said they expect reduced vehicle output in the next quarter due to a lack of semiconductors, with more factory downtime likely.
Top Image credit: The Boring Company / @boringcompany