Cambodia and Vietnam plan to increase the quota of total commercial vehicles permitted to cross their shared frontier from 500 for each side to 800 by the end of this year to facilitate cross-border trade between the two neighbouring ASEAN nations.

Delegations from the two countries in Vietnam last week discussed a draft memorandum of understanding (MoU) to this effect, and potential times and locations for future meetings on the deal as well as on the challenges of cross-border transportation and transport infrastructure connectivity, particularly those pertaining to roads and railways, waterways, and logistics.

Speaking to The Post on August 22, Ministry of Public Works and Transport undersecretary of state Pen Boran, who led the Cambodian delegation, noted that the 500-vehicle quota was set back in 2012, but that the significant growth of overland trade prompted the two countries to expand the “exchange list” of commercial vehicles allowed to cross the shared border via the MoU expected to be inked later this year.

“The working groups of the two countries will discuss in detail the preparation of the MoU in September or October. Our economy is growing and the demand for trucks is also increasing, leading both sides to decide to increase the quota for commercial vehicles crossing the international border,” he said.

Cambodia Logistics Association (CLA) president Sin Chanthy noted that raising the quota to 800 commercial vehicles, from an initial 40 back in the day, would offer consumers more options for carriers with vehicles authorised to make the crossing, and drive competition among these companies.

Logistics and Supply Chain Business Association in Cambodia (Loscba) president Chea Chandara lauded the quota increase as a form of transport infrastructure connectivity improvement and a boon for the private transport sector that “can save time and make delivery faster”.

He also pointed out that both countries drive on the right-hand side of the road, making it easier for drivers from either side to continue their journey after the border crossing.

According to the General Department of Customs and Excise, from January to July, bilateral trade between Cambodia and Vietnam rose 22.18 per cent year-on-year to $3.766 billion.

Cambodian exports to Vietnam edged up 3.45 per cent year-on-year to $1.327 billion, and imports surged 35.53 per cent to $2.439 billion. The Kingdom’s trade deficit with Vietnam expanded 115.01 per cent to $1.113 billion.