Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - $25 million crane set to boost S'ville port

$25 million crane set to boost S'ville port

$25 million crane set to boost S'ville port

A ship in Sihanoukville. Freight forwarders hope a new crane will speed operations.
A ship in Sihanoukville. Freight forwarders hope a new crane will speed operations. NGUON SOVAN

30%
Estimated decline in cargo volume.

The freight forwarding industry estimates that trade volumes will drop even further in the first months of 2009 as last year's orders are cleared from the books.

SIHANOUKVILLE Autonomous Port (SAP) is boosting capacity and speed with a new US$25 million heavy crane bought from Japan.  

The upgrade comes despite falling international trade that has hit shipping companies and ports across the globe.

"This equipment will double the rate of cargo transfer and help the port to expand operations," said Lou Kim Chhu, chairman and CEO of Sihanoukville Autonomous Port.

"The crane can transfer 45 tonnes of cargo at a time, or 28 containers per hour."

Funds for the new equipment would come from concessionary Japanese loans.

Lou Kim Chhun told the Post Tuesday that the new heavy crane will start operations on February 15.

"We believe that this heavy crane will help improve the quality of service in the port and increase efficiency," he said.

Faster shipping

According to SAP reports, the port transferred about 260,000 containers in 2008. He said that the new equipment will permit cargo ships to reduce their parking time by half.

So Nguon, director of So Nguon Transportation and Services Import Export, and co-chair of the Energy, Infrastructure and Transport Working Group, said that the new crane is part of the country's efforts to boost shipping infrastructure.

"My company transports about 1,000 containers per month, and we expect to be able to transport more once this crane is equipped because we won't have to wait longer for old and smaller cranes to lift cargo," So Nguon said.

"We need more heavy cargo cranes that meet international standards to expand more in the future," he added.

Sin Chanthy, general secretary of the Cambodia Freight Forwarders Association, welcomed the upgrade but said that slow customs clearance remains a major problem for local companies.

"If the working process does not change, the speed of cargo transfer will stay the same,  even with better equipment," he said. "Sometimes we have to wait from noon until late at night while the inspection period takes about 10 or 20 minutes," he added.

He recommended that the government address the problem to speed the country's logistics systems.

International slowdown

But with the economic slowdown cutting international trade, the port expects to see only five percent to six percent growth for 2009.

Yet Sin Chanthy said that even those figures could be too ambitious.

He estimated that cargo traffic fell by between 20 percent and 30 percent in the last quarter of 2008, which he blamed on the decline in construction materials imports.

He said volumes for 2009 could fall further when current orders are cleared.

Cambodia can, however, count itself better off than many international ports that have fared worse as global trade volumes register their first decline in decades.

The US's two top ports, Long Beach and Los Angeles, were down 18 percent year-on-year - a steeper drop than the industry has seen in previous recessions, according to figures reported in London's The Telegraph. Regional trade is falling fast, which could mean more hard times for ports in East Asia. Japanese exports fell 27 percent from a year earlier, while Korea's were down 30 percent and Taiwan's fell 42 percent. 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all

  • Ex-RFA journos accuse outlet

    Two former Radio Free Asia journalists held a press conference yesterday claiming they are each owed $28,000 by the US-funded radio broadcaster, which shuttered its in-country operations in September amid a government crackdown on independent media. The journalists, Sok Ratha and Ouk Savborey, maintained they organised