Thailand: Waste Import

July 2018

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Correspondents SPICA of Thailand have reported as follows:
Our office in Bangkok is reporting that import of waste into Thailand is currently suspended. Even containers in transit are affected. Members’ attention and precautions are required.

Background
Boundary movement of hazardous waste is governed by the Basel Convention that applies in Thailand as well. This allows for certain types of waste to be imported into Thailand legitimately. These are generally recyclable types of waste, but not lower quality waste only bound for deposit. Recycling is already an established business in Thailand and various types of waste is imported annually without any problems.

Events
Lately, the Thai Customs have discovered that waste has been mis-declared, usually as a recyclable type, when in reality it was bound for waste disposal. The Thai Police have also discovered that a number of recipients of waste, said to be recycle plants, do not have any such capability.

Shipping
Because of the large volume of waste, and the impossible task of checking each shipment or container, the Thai Authorities have decided to place a temporary suspension on any import of waste.
This means that otherwise legitimate shipments, even in transit, might not be allowed to discharge at any Thai port in the near future.

What to expect
It is uncertain when the Authorities will lift this complete ban on discharge of waste. All Members are encouraged to be in close contact with their local agent in order to secure smooth operation. They should also prepare that waste cargo (plastic scrap, electronics, and hazardous waste), even otherwise legitimate waste, may not being allowed to discharge at any Thai port, including transit cargo.