SHIPMENTS through Phnom Penh Autonomous Port were up for the fourth straight month in October, figures showed Thursday.
The port handled 3,682 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) last month, 8.61 percent more than the 3,390 TEU handled in October 2008.
Container throughput grew 22.7 percent year on year in September to 4,484 TEUs, and 22.65 percent in August to 5,036 TEUs. Throughput also grew a modest 0.84 percent in July, the same month the Cai Mep deepwater port opened in southern Vietnam, reversing six months of falling trade volumes.
Phnom Penh Port Deputy Director Eang Veng Sun said the reversal was due to the newly opened Vietnamese port providing exporters a new route out of the country for their goods. “I believe that shipment activity will continue to increase,” he said.
Previously, exporters transported goods by land to Sihanoukville Autonomous Port but because the port lacked a deepwater facility, they had to be transferred to Singapore, Taiwan or Hong Kong in smaller vessels before being loaded into a larger container ship for the journey to key export markets, adding time and cost. The Phnom Penh port is also less than one hour from most factories in the city, much less than the six to seven hours it takes to transport a container to Sihanoukville Port by road.
Eang Veng Sun said the port had never handled garment exports before the opening of the Cai Mep port. Its main exports were rubber, beans and other agricultural products, he said.
The first six months had been tough for the company, Eang Veng Sun said. Throughput volumes were still down 9.28 percent over the first 10 months of the year, despite the gains of the past three months.
So Nguon, president of Cambodia’s biggest transportation service company, So Nguon Group, said his firm had been delivering goods to the port for export only since July, but now delivered around 100 TEUs of goods for forwarding every month – all garment exports, he said. “I think our services to this port will rise from December to early 2010.… We have been contracted to transport garment products by many firms.”