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Infrastructure ‘needs upgrade’

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The transport ministry is pushing for additional projects to expand and upgrade land transport infrastructure, railways and waterways. Heng Chivoan

Infrastructure ‘needs upgrade’

The government is working to modernise the Kingdom’s transport infrastructure and ensure the logistics sector’s competitive edge in the region, Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol said on Tuesday.

He was speaking at a meeting held at the ministry on the challenges faced at border checkpoints with Vietnam and Thailand.

The ministry is pushing for additional projects to expand and upgrade land transport infrastructure, railways and waterways, he said.

“We encourage all participants of the meeting to voice their opinions on transforming Cambodia into a logistics hub and warehouse centre that serves neighbouring countries.

“Take into account how Cambodia has emerged as a transit point for trade in goods between Thailand and Vietnam, given its favourable strategic geography in the region,” Chanthol said.

Cambodia Logistics Association (CLA) president Sin Chanthy lauded the ministry’s progress in modernising logistics capacity and “pushing the sector”.

But he said it must do more to improve freshwater and marine infrastructure, as well as railways to serve the interests of the private sector and remain ahead of the game against regional competition.

SHA Transport Express Co Ltd CEO and co-founder Khut Saroeun told The Post on Wednesday that reinforcing logistics would help revive the freight sector as it continues to reel from Covid-19.

“We welcome and support the ministry in its modernisation of transport Infrastructure, at a time when reforms are needed to safeguard our logistics sector in the face of the Covid-19 crisis,” he said.

He stressed that innovation in the logistics field will draw in more foreign investors to the Kingdom.

“Revamping logistics entails pricing our services similarly to those of neighbouring countries. That will help the sector slash costs, save time and cut through some red tape,” Saroeun said.

The government is currently studying the feasibility of establishing a logistics centre in western Phnom Penh, with a recently-completed early-stage feasibility analysis showing that the project is economically viable.

The Phnom Penh Logistics Complex will be located on 98ha in Dangkor district’s Samrong Krom commune, an area lying just west of Phnom Penh International Airport.

The location is strategically significant as it sits between Sihanoukville Autonomous Port and the Poipet rail line on the border with Thailand. It is also located near National Roads 3 and 4, as well as the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone.

Cambodia’s weak logistics infrastructure has long impeded its trade sector, with a 2014 World Bank report showing the Kingdom’s export costs were 30 per cent higher than those of neighbouring countries.

In 2016, the Japan International Cooperation Agency estimated that Cambodia charges its exporters $540 per twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU), compared to $200 in Thailand and $250 in Vietnam.

TEU is an inexact unit of cargo capacity often used to describe the capacity of container ships.

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