PHNOM PENH. May 17 (Phnom Penh Post/ANN): The Ministry of Public Works and Transport on May 15 said it is preparing to expand Sihanoukville Autonomous Port and set up an Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) system at the Kingdom’s ports to ramp up inventory and logistics control and boost exports.
This comes as the government sets its sights on industrial development near the ports to “make Cambodia a competitive strategic location in Asia in terms of logistics and transportation”, the ministry said via Facebook.
EDI is the digital exchange of business documents and data in a standardised electronic format between trading partners.
The ministry stressed the increasing importance that the maritime dimension plays in the transport of goods, noting that the Kingdom’s flagship deep-sea port has its hands full with cargo-handling activity.
“Cambodia’s only deep-sea port is an important economic lifeline that has helped propel the national economic growth forward. Obviously, the volume of cargo passing through and loading equipment at the port has increased significantly from year to year, as has the port’s and national revenue, ” it said.
It added that the EDI system will facilitate the formal procedures of ships entering and leaving the port in order to speed up the process and reduce warehousing and marine shipping costs, and to better accommodate rising international investment.
Cambodia Logistics Association (CLA) president Sin Chanthy told The Post on May 16 that the government’s increased focus on industrial development near the ports was progress towards advancing the international shipping industry and a necessity for the Kingdom to become a manufacturing and export hub.
He said waterway transport accounts for more than 70 per cent of international freight movement and is cheaper than other means – around 10-20 per cent the cost of shipping by air.
“The development of standardised ports is very important. It is closely related to enhancing the capacity and calibre of goods-export services from Cambodia to regional and international markets, ” he said.
With upgraded ports able to handle larger ships that are loaded with “thousands of containers”, the Kingdom could reap in tonnes of profit, Chanthy said.
Lou Kim Chhun, director-general of the deep-sea port’s stock-listed operator Sihanoukville Autonomous Port (PAS), told The Post late last month that a new container terminal for the port will be built by early next year.
The 350m-long and 14.5m-deep container terminal will be able to handle 60,000 DWT ships – or those carrying around 5,000 TEUs. Operations are expected to begin in mid-2024, he said.
He said larger ships would be able to dock at the port, which will help reduce shipping costs and time, as well as increase Cambodia’s competitiveness.