Japanese investors have requested the Cambodian government to speed up the opening of the Stung Bot-Ban Nong Ian border crossing with Thailand to better boost cross-border shipments.

The proposal was made at the 20th Cambodia-Japan Joint Committee meeting on Thursday in Phnom Penh.

Yusen Logistics (Cambodia) Co Ltd director and board chairman Haruhiko Ikegaya told the meeting that congestion at the Poipet border crossings today requires spending a lot of additional time on customs procedures, which greatly impedes cross-border shipment activity.

He said: “We make two requests to the government – open a customs branch at the Stung Bot border checkpoint and provide customs services at the border 24 hours a day.”

At the same time, Japanese investors also asked Cambodia to improve infrastructure along the border with Vietnam to facilitate the transportation of goods.

Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol told the meeting that the ministry is expanding construction and improving the quality of transport infrastructure, roads, railways and waterways to address the challenges faced at its borders with Vietnam and Thailand, and to better compete with regional countries.

He said: “The ministry is working with Thailand to temporarily allow trucks to cross the border at the Stung Bot-Ban Nong Ian checkpoint. This is to reduce congestion at the Poipet international border checkpoint.

“We are also in talks with the Vietnamese government to resolve congestion issues at the Bavet-Moc Bai border crossing.”

Cambodia exported $791.66 million worth of goods to Japan in the first half of this year, down 0.21 per cent year-on-year from $793.38 million, data from the Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro) show.

The Kingdom imported $218.61 million worth of goods from Japan, down 39 per cent from $256 million in the same period last year.

Between 1995 and September, there were 141 Japanese investment projects with $2.5 billion in capital investment, data from the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) shows.

Of these, 66 were in special economic zones with an estimated capital investment of $340 million.

Cambodia exported $1.7 billion worth of goods to Japan last year, up 7.7 per cent from 2018, Jetro data show.