Tightened regulations for vehicle technical inspections at Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville autonomous ports will impact goods transportation, especially in textiles, according to transport sector insiders.
Cambodia Freight Forwarders Association (Camffa) president Sin Chanthy said the Ministry of Public Works and Transport’s measures will delay shipping.
“I have been talking the issue over with the garment sector. There have been delays for 15 days now. If delays keep up over the next two weeks, it will affect buyers. They will cancel their orders due to unpunctuality,” he said.
Chanthy said if shipping by sea was too slow, carriers would be forced to send goods by air, which will increase costs. “Shipping fees by sea and by air differ drastically,” he said.
Giving an example, he said: “If shipping by sea to the US or Europe costs $5,000 per container, shipping by air would cost between $15,000 and $20,000.”
In an effort to mitigate the private sector’s concerns, Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol put in place three measures to ease congestion at the ports.
First, the ministry has provided training free of charge to about 70 drivers without valid driver’s licences.
Second, it dispatched two mobile vehicle inspection units to an area adjacent to the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port.
And third, it extended operating hours until 10pm at all five designated inspection locations in Phnom Penh.
Chanthy said Camffa will urge carriers to instruct their drivers to respect traffic laws.However, he urged the ministry to temporarily suspend the stricter inspection regulations.
Ministry spokesman Vasim Sorya declined to comment to Camffa’s request.
He stressed that all parties must work together. “We need to work together to solve the issue, it’s law enforcement,” he said.
Road safety adviser Kong Sovann told The Post on Wednesday that carriers must respect traffic laws in line with the government’s law enforcement.
“It is not the first time that [the private sector has experienced] delays. When will it be the right time for them to respect the law? Carriers need to be ready to abide by the law. We are doing business, so please do not cause problems for others,” said Sovann.
He said business owners and transporters must provide their staff with courses on road traffic laws.
Cambodia continues to struggle due to higher production and transportation costs compared to other countries in the region.
Authorities inspected 1,954 vehicles at Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville autonomous ports between June 16 and 30. Of these, 224 failed it, according to documentation.
Cambodia’s garment and footwear exports last year increased 24 per cent compared to 2017 as the global economy performed well, which buoyed demand from export destinations, according to a National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) report.
NBC’s 2018 report said the Kingdom’s garments and footwear exports were valued at $10 billion, up 24 per cent from $8 billion in 2017. The growth rate in 2017 was just 7.6 per cent.