As rubber prices continue to drop worldwide Thailand’s Prime Minister has signed an agreement to use natural rubber in road construction. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha chaired the signing ceremony of an agreement to use local Thai rubber in road construction, part of an effort to help the country’s financially strapped rubber farmers.
The Economic Intelligence Center has predicted a gloomy outlook for rubber prices in Thailand this year. Above all due to tepid demand from China and increased domestic supply. Thailand traditionally relies on Chinese consumption of its rubber, with 40% of exports destined for the world’s second largest economy. Thai rubber is exported largely to make automobile tires.
Gen. Prayut used the occasion to praise the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives; Prince of Songkla University; the Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research; the Rubber Plantation Cooperative Fund; and also the Engineering Institute of Thailand under Royal Patronage; as they jointly developed a rubber-based road paving method.
Rubber also helps reduce road accidents
Even more the method will also increases the safety of Thailand’s roadways. The achievement is above all the result of government initiated studies into road accidents and fatalities. It also has the added benefit of aiding the nation’s rubber growers.
The Ministry of Transport will also cover concrete barricades with natural rubber. The method is certified by the Institute of Scientific and Technological Research. It was tested in South Korea, proving to be effective at reducing the adverse effects of road accidents.
According to NNT, the covering process is to take place between 2020 and 2022. Encompassing 12,282 kilometers of road, utilizing 1,063,651 rubber trees; or about 1 million tons of rubber sap; accounting for 71 percent of growers’ income or just over 30 billion baht.
Rubber has for decades made important contributions to the global economy. Many countries, especially those within Asean, are also actively involved in supplying the world with natural rubber.
The biggest demand for natural rubber is in the automotive sector. Principally tires for many years now. Consequently close to 70% of the global natural rubber demand comes from the tire-manufacturing industry.
Furthermore many now see a potentially high-volume demand for natural rubber for road construction in the world market. Many are now convinced that the use of natural rubber in roads has a real potential to influence the world natural rubber market.