The Phnom Penh Autonomous Port (PPAP) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Vietnamese port operators, the Saigon Newport Corporation (SNP).

The agreement is aimed at increasing efficiency and reducing shipping costs between the neighbouring nations, in order to contribute to sustainable business and promote economic growth and trade between Vietnam and Cambodia.

The signing ceremony took place on October 28, as SNP held a workshop to explore ways to strengthen connectivity and develop logistic routes.

The workshop was held on the sidelines of the Vietnam-Cambodia Defence Economic Production Exhibition 2023 (VIDEX 2023), held in Phnom Penh from October 25-29. VIDEX brought together over 150 representatives from institutions and businesses from Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Thailand, plus over 400 businesses who participated online.

PPAP Deputy Director Hei Phanin said at the ceremony that the purpose of the signing was to demonstrate the two sides’ willingness to stage formal cooperation formal in order to maximise the mutual benefits of developing the transportation sector. The talks will include ports, depots and logistics providers, and seek to expand business partnerships to increase strategic market opportunities in Cambodia and Vietnam.

She added that in recent years, logistics between Vietnam and Cambodia has developed rapidly, strengthening the ties along the common border.

She noted that bilateral trade between the two countries has grown steadily in recent years, with an average of 18 per cent per year. Cambodia-Vietnam trade in 2021 increased significantly by 79 per cent compared to the same period in 2020, despite the significant impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Vietnam plays an important role as a trading partner. Cambodian goods enter key Vietnamese seaports in order to facilitate their transportation to markets around the world,” she said.

“PPAP is strongly committed to supporting the Cambodian government’s policy to grow the Cambodian economy by improving our infrastructure and services, in response to growing demand. We are constructing addition sub-ports along the Tonle Sap and Mekong rivers to connect our services to important industrial and agricultural areas. This will reduce transportation costs and eliminate potential logistics issues,” she added.

Nguyen Huy Tang, Vietnamese ambassador, expressed his confidence in the future cooperation of Vietnam-Cambodia transportation. He described it as an important component to local socio-economic development and expected it to strengthen export-import relations between Vietnam and Cambodia, as well as other neighbouring countries in the region.

“There is still significant potential for further cooperation in various fields, including the production of consumer goods, electricity, mining, agricultural processing and fisheries,” he said, during the ceremony.

Bui Van Quy, SNP executive vice-president, reaffirmed the corporation’s commitment to working with local and international shipping partners and transport associations to provide the best possible services.

“Through logistics specialists, we will contribute to strengthening connections and the promotion of strong transport services for the Vietnam-Cambodia road, ensuring smooth and efficient supply chain operation,” he said.

However, both sides noted that despite great potential, there are still many challenges that require joint efforts to overcome, not only from government agencies and local authorities, but also from the private sector. In particular, the simplification of customs procedures and related fees remained a priority for all parties.