But Chinese New Year slowdown hits month-on-month figure
Shipments in February were also lower because the month is shorter than the others."
The rise of the port
- Eight months of growth in traffic since Cai Mep port in Vietnam opened in July
- 75pc rise in traffic in January followed by 51.5pc increase last month
- Port aims for 44pc traffic growth during 2010 Source: Phnom Penh Autonomous Port
SHIPMENTS at Phnom Penh’s Autonomous Port increased by 51.5 percent in February compared to the same month last year, but were down on January freight highs following Chinese New Year, figures showed Thursday.
Last month 3,271 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) were delivered and received by the port, compared to 2,158 TEUs in February 2009. Many of the containers were shipped through the Vietnamese deepwater port of Cai Mep, which opened last year and is widely seen to be the reason for the capital port’s recovery following the global economic crisis. It offers a more direct route for shipments to the United States and Canada, shaving days off travel times compared to traditional shipping routes via Hong Kong and Singapore.
Despite the positive year-on-year figures, officials from the port said that the volumes were low compared to January, when 4,547 TEUs were shipped – marking a 75 percent increase on January 2009. Prior to February, the port recorded seven straight months of growth.
Director General of the port Ieng Veng Sun said Thursday that many companies did not conduct deliveries in February because they were on holiday or were busy with the Chinese New Year.
“Shipments in February were also lower because the month is shorter than the others,” he said.
“However, we hope to see an increase in March. This should reach the high levels seen in January, because demand for shipment services is increasing.
“Freight shipment at our port started to rise after we built up our cooperation with the Vietnamese port in July last year,” he added.
Hin Theany, line division general manager of Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), which ships garments from Cambodia, said Thursday that her company had not used Phnom Penh port for three weeks after Chinese New Year.
She said the port did not have ships to deliver goods straight to the US and Europe through Vietnam at that time. “We will start to ship goods through the port again next week,” she added.
In January, Hei Bavy, director general of the port, said that the Phnom Penh port’s target was to ship 62,500 TEUs this year – 44 percent more than the 43,312 TEUs transported in 2009.
Chinese company Shanghai is also scheduled to construct a $30 million port upgrade that would further increase capacity.