Consultant, Study on Core Trade Infrastructure and Facilities in the Lancang–Mekong countries

BACKGROUND

Mekong Institute (MI), with Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce, is implementing the “Upgrading Border Facilitation: Trade and Logistics Development” project. Supported by the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Special Fund (LMCSF), the project aims to (1) promote trade along border trade zones in Lancang-Mekong countries; (2) facilitate cross-border trade by strengthening capacities in commerce and reducing trade costs within Lancang-Mekong countries; (3) enhance connectivity by supporting policy and structural reforms; and (4) improve competitiveness across international borders by promoting enhanced infrastructure to better facilitate cross-border investments.

Studies conducted by MI, as part of this and other projects supported by LMCSF, demonstrated the following findings on the state of infrastructure and facilities, particularly in border areas of the Lancang-Mekong region:

  1. There is a need to strengthen cross-border economic cooperation as there are potential advantages and challenges in enhancing cross-border cooperation.
  2. There is a need to enhance infrastructure, investments, and logistics at borders.
  3. Improvements on infrastructure must be implemented in Cross-Border Economic Zones (and Economic Zones.
  4. Gaps in customs modernization, ranging from physical infrastructure, customs automation, and human resource development must be bridged.

Against this background, MI is seeking the services of a Consultant to work with the MI Project Team on the “Study on Core Trade Infrastructure and Facilities in the Border Areas in Lancang-Mekong Countries” from May to October 2020.

The objectives of the study are to:

  1. Conduct a comprehensive survey of the status of critical and core infrastructure and facilities in border areas which are required to facilitate trade
  2. Determine common and country-specific constraints in developing infrastructure and facilities, including the review of literature on time-release studies
  3. Identify gaps in current projects to develop and promote infrastructure and facilities in border areas
  4. Survey status of investments (e.g., by volume, source, type, destination, etc.) in infrastructure and facilities in border areas
  5. Propose technical assistance projects by identifying investment profiles, existing gaps, and constraints in facilitating trade

DELIVERABLES

In support of the study, the Consultant will work with the MI Project Team to:

  1. Design a methodology for the study, including the conduct of a desk review, development of methods of analysis, design of questionnaires for key informant interviews (KIIs), identification of stakeholders, and determination of primary and secondary information sources and survey plan.
  2. Conduct desk research and survey of literature to identify the status of critical and core infrastructure and facilities covering (a) common and country-specific constraints, (b) gaps in current projects, and (c) status of investments. The desk research must also include an assessment of critical and core infrastructure and facilities to build on MI’s existing studies. These can range from customs facilities, inspection quarantine clearances, joint inspection processes, logistics facilities, among others.
  3. Draft a report containing findings from the desk research, survey of literature, and technical inputs from the MI Project Team.
  4. Develop questionnaire/s for KIIs based on the gaps identified from the desk research. The questionnaire/s must also include queries on future plans, prospects, and investment requirements in core and critical infrastructure and facilities in border areas.
  5. Conduct KIIls in selected cross-border check points with the MI Project Team.
  6. Finalize the study report by incorporating findings and analyses from qualitative and quantitative data generated from the desk research and KIIs. The Consultant must also include recommendations for technical assistance projects by identifying investment profiles, existing gaps, and constraints for facilitating trade.
  7. Share and validate findings of the study report in a dissemination workshop tentatively scheduled on November 16 and 17, 2020 at the MI Training Center in Khon Kaen, Thailand. The workshop will be attended by policymakers, practitioners, experts, and academics, as well as KII respondents representing the Lancang-Mekong region.
  8. Finalize the study report by consolidating technical feedback from the dissemination workshop.

Required Qualifications, Experience, and Skills

  1. Advanced university degree in economics, law, international trade, management, or any other related fields
  2. Experience in conducting research studies and consultancy work on infrastructure, customs, or logistics in Cambodia, P.R. China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, or Vietnam or in any other ASEAN country is preferred
  3. Experience in leading teams on survey and field work, as well as KIIs in Lancang-Mekong countries
  4. Published studies, researches, and other types of documented technical work in infrastructure, customs, or logistics is preferred
  5. Strong facility in the development of study methodologies and questionnaires
  6. Excellent English writing, reporting, and communication skills

CONSULTANCY PAYMENT AND TERMS OF MI SUPPORT

The payment of the consultancy service is USD 3,500 (Three Thousand and Five Hundred US Dollars). The total value of payment will be released in tranches, as follows:

Percentage

Deliverables

10%

Signing of Contractual Agreement

50%

Submission of the Final Report Draft

40%

MI Acceptance of the Final Report and PowerPoint Presentation

At the inception phase, MI will shoulder the consultant’s round trip economy airfare to and from his/her home country and Khon Kaen, Thailand. MI will also cover the consultant’s accommodation during his/her stay at the MI Training Center.

MI will also facilitate the administrative arrangements for the consultant to carry out fieldwork and meetings with project stakeholders in Cambodia, P.R. China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. This specifically covers land and air transport, as well as accommodations in selected project locations. The consultant will bear his/her meal costs during these activities.

Payment will be released by bank transfer in the name of the Consultant as specified in the Terms of Reference/ contract.

REQUIREMENTS FOR APPLICATION

The Consultant must submit his/her CV and Expression of Interest (EOI). The latter must detail the proposed methodology for the assignment. The EOI must also include the recommended work plan, identified technical expertise and qualifications, as well as other related arrangements or support that the Consultant will make available to execute and achieve the assignment objectives.

Applicants must submit his/her CV and EOI to the following MI officers no later than April 27, 2020. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Mr. Madhurjya Kumar Dutta

Director, Trade and Investment Facilitation Department

Tel: (+66) 43 202 411 (Ext: 2101)

Fax: Fax: (+66) 43 343 131

Email: [email protected]

Ms. Vitchaya Panurak

Human Resource Officer

Finance and Administration Department

Tel: +66 (0) 43 202 411-2 ext. 6201

Fax: (+66) 43 343 131

Email: [email protected]

For more information, please read the Terms of Reference.