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A Moving Experience: Boonma Group of Chiangmai

Today, there are more than fifty freight moving companies in Chiang Mai, but the Boonma group was the city's first professional packing and shipping service provider to open for business. The group was founded in 1964 in Bangkok, and later opened branches in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.

As Chiang Mai transformed from being a backpackers' destination into the thriving business hub of today, Boonma has been here every step of the way, helping local producers ship their wares to ports around the world.

Khun Somchai Thongploy is Boonma's Branch Manager in Chiang Mai. He has been with the company for thirty years, twenty six of those spent running the Chiang Mai branch with almost military precision.

Indeed, prior to his arrival in "The Rose of The North, Khun Somchai spent his early years with Boonma, helping the U.S. military to pack up and head home from the air base in Utapao, at the end of the war in Vietnam.

The Chiang Mai branch is a veritable hive of industry; from the office where a dozen or so ladies handle the various forms involved: customs clearance, insurance, shipping and airfreight estimates, and so on, to the more than two dozen expert packers in the warehouse, crating and loading goods onto some of the company's fifty container trucks.

While employees at the branch work normal office hours, the company's fleet of trucks operates around the clock, carrying goods to ports and airports around the country.

Boonma ships all manner of products to all parts of the world: silk, antiques, wood carvings, candles, ceramics, Mulberry paper products, textiles and garments, electronics, along with household goods and personal effects.

"You name it, we ship it," Khun Somchai tells me. "With fierce competition in this business today," he says. "We lead by our reputation as a company with unequalled standards in service and quality."

Before leaving the office to visit the packaging plant, I look over a lady's shoulder to find a new language on her computer screen:

  • A.A.R. = Against All Risks (an insurance clause).
  • Zulu time = used to be GMT. i.e. 1700 hrs. (Nothing to do with African warriors).
  • A.F.F. = Air Freight Forwarder.
  • Zone skipping = (sounds like fun.) What it involves is when freight is transported across several postal zones.

I had enough trouble trying to learn the Thai language! Off now to the packaging plant.

As I watch the packers at work, Khun Somchai explains that Boonma moves a diverse range of goods around the globe: from fresh vegetables to Singapore, orchids to Japan, or the family dog to Europe.

I ask him if he can recall the most expensive item he has ever shipped, and he replies - -"Every single item we move is as precious to the sender as it is to the receiver, and we treat each object with the care and attention on which our reputation is built."

If you have ever moved home, especially from one country to another, you will be well aware of the headaches involved. Boonma is in the business of removing not only your headaches, but your entire household; safely, professionally, and at reasonable rates.

As one who, until now, had failed to appreciate the art of crating and packaging, I am amazed at the various techniques being performed by the Boonma team as they pack delicate ceramic tableware in one crate, and bolts of fine silk in another.
I stand amid a sea of bubble-paper, wood, metal strapping, and what looks like straw, but I'm told is synthetic packing material, I can only wonder at the speed and dexterity being employed by the Boonma team.

Boonma's clients are as diverse as the goods being crated; from local manufacturers to overseas buying agents, to expatriate families shipping their goods and chattels back to their countries of origin. "One of the more satisfying aspects of this job," explains Khun Somchai "is that the bulk of our clients are people we've been dealing with for many years. Our customers have grown to trust and rely on our expertise during the decades we've been in business."
Boonma's forty-two year history speaks volumes for the service and quality the company provides....Boonma Shipping & Cargo Co. Ltd. 199-199/1 Mahidol Rd., Chiang Mai 50100. Tel. 053-200570-1, -282577, -275055.

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