MITSUI OSK Lines says it is the first Japanese firm to be awarded a licence from the Thai customs authorities to open an inland container depot (ICD) in Thailand. The depot, which was opened on September 9 and is known as the Lad Krabang Logistics Centre, is located in the Lad Krabang district east of Bangkok. It is licensed to engage in bonded storage and customs clearance for both exports and imports. The centre has been opened to meet the demands of many Japanese firms which are moving their production facilities to Thailand. Meanwhile, the Thai Government has decided to designate Lad Krabang as the most appropriate sight for an inland cargo hub, designed to support the new sea ''gateway'' development project located at the port of Laem Chabang. With the Thai economy's continued growth, the need for this kind of facility increases daily. The centre is composed of two warehouses - a 4,800 sq m building for exports and a 9,800 sq m one for imports. The container yards for import and export have a combined storage space of 30,000 sq m. This is equal to a combined capacity of 2,000 TEUs including 36 reefer plugs. One major advantage to shippers is that it will dramatically reduce their interest payments and fees for using port facilities.