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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ports see traffic drop by double digits in '09

Ports see traffic drop by double digits in '09

CAMBODIA’S three major ports saw shipments and revenues fall in 2009 as garment and construction trade slumped, operators said.

Officials from the Kingdom’s largest port, Sihanoukville Autonomous Port (PAS), said Sunday that revenues declined an annualised 16 percent in 2009, from US$28.8 million to $24.19 million.

The gross amount of cargo going through the Sihanoukville fell by around 13 percent and the number of containers handled by around 20 percent, they said.

In the last 12 months, revenues at Phnom Penh Autonomous Port (PPAP) fell 15 percent.

Oknha Mong Port, in Preah Sihanouk province, saw cargo shipments – mostly construction materials, consumer goods and fruit from Thailand – reduce by 10 percent.

Lou Kim Chhun, director-general of PAS, on Sunday blamed the slump on falling garment exports and construction imports.

According to statistics from the Commerce Ministry’s Trade Preferences System Department, obtained last week, garment exports plummeted 20.83 percent to $2.14 billion in the first 11 months of 2009, compared with $2.71 billion in the same period of 2008.

But Lou Kim Chhun, who emphasised that PAS still operated at profit, remained hopeful about the year ahead. “We expect to see revenues return to 2008 levels due to increased output in agricultural products such as rice and corn. This will increase exports,” he said.

Eang Veng Sun, deputy general of PPAP, was less positive, adding that he believed 2010 could be similar to last year.

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