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Cargo traffic up 18 pct at PAS: CEO

Wednesday, 16 October 2019 | 00:00

Cargo traffic at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port (PAS), the country’s sole deep-sea port, rose by 18 percent during the first nine months of the year compared with the same period last year.

From January to September, cargo traffic at PAS increased substantially, according to Lou Kim Chhun, the port’s chairman and CEO. He noted that the rise was particularly high during the third quarter of the year.

Mr Kim Chhun was speaking during a meeting with Preah Sihanouk province’s authorities on Thursday last week. He did not disclose detailed figures regarding the volume of twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) that were handled by the port during that period.

President of the Cambodia Freight Forwarders Association (CAMFFA) Sin Chanthy told Khmer Times recently that cargo passing through the port mostly consists of textiles and agricultural goods, noting that the growth in container traffic is the result of the country’s robust economic performance.

“Sea freight continues to grow rapidly in Sihanoukville with demand and investment for the service expanding,” Mr Chanthy said.

PAS’s Mr Kim Chhun noted that the increase in cargo shipments is causing congestion, a problem exacerbated by traffic problems along National Road 4, which leads to the port.

Germany-based international transport firm Hapag-Lloyd issued an advisory to PAS regarding the port’s congestion in August.

“Please be advised that Sihanoukville Port, Cambodia, has been rather congested in recent months. The terminal productivity has deteriorated due to the port and yard congestion. Feeder services and turnaround times are affected and feeder space is tight,” it said.

With about 70 percent of the Kingdom’s imports and exports passing through the port, Hapag-Lloyd said the congestion could have serious implications for Cambodia.

Construction of a new terminal with an investment of about $203 million, scheduled for completion in 2023, will increase the port’s container handling capacity to 900,000 TEUs per year.

The project is being financed by the Japanese government through official development assistance (ODA) loan agreements, which were signed with the Cambodian government in 2017.

Primo Ye, country manager of Maersk (Cambodia) Ltd, said that trucks bringing cargo to Sihanoukville only make one run per day because of congestion and the road’s poor condition, while the train service is unstable and is prone to technical issues.

“The weekly cut-off time is the main reason for the congestion on the roads leading to the port city,” he said during the 17th Asean Ports & Shipping Expo held in Phnom Penh last month.

“All cargo needs to be at the Sihanoukville port by midday on Saturday. So every Friday and Saturday, there is heavy truck movement and congestion on the roads,” he pointed out.

Thailand recently proposed connecting one of its ports to PAS.

A delegation from Thailand’s eastern economic corridor met with Cambodian authorities to discuss linking the infrastructures of Laem Chabang Port, in Thailand’s Chonburi province, with Sihanoukville Autonomous Port.

In 2018, a total of 541,288 TEUs passed through PAS, an 18 percent year-on-year hike. In 2020, the volume of containers passing through the port is expected to surpass 700,000 TEUs.
Source: Khmer Times

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