The garment and footwear industries in the Kingdom have been given a new lease of life, thanks to the arrival of raw materials from China.
Speaking at the inauguration of National Road 55, Prime Minister Hun Sen said seven container ships will arrive loaded with raw materials for the factories.
Five of the ships will dock at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port (PAS) and two at Ho Chi Minh seaport due to its proximity to the Svay Rieng Special Economic Zone.
With the arrival of the raw materials from China, garment and footwear production in the Kingdom will be partially restored after it all but collapsed as a result of the novel coronavirus outbreak, the prime minister said.
“This is good news for garment workers. Production will continue. Workers will continue to work. Factories now have enough raw materials. Do not be afraid. I thank the Chinese government for making this possible,” he said.
PAS director-general Lou Kim Chhun told The Post on Monday that the container ships were scheduled to arrive before the end of the day.
“China has restored the supply of raw materials for the garment and footwear industries in Cambodia. I am optimistic this supply will continue to increase,” Chhun said.
On February 26, the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training said at least 10 factories had filed for temporary suspension due to a shortage of raw materials.
This affected the livelihoods of as many as 3,000 workers. The ministry warned that 200 factories could file for suspension in March if China does not resume shipments.
Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng on Monday welcomed the good news from the prime minister.
“Companies will be able to resume production, and people will be back to work. I think the shortage of raw materials will end soon,” he said.
Kun Nhim, the director-general of the General Department of Customs and Excise, said: “The supply of raw materials from China appears to be recovering, which is good news for factories in Cambodia.
“At the same time, imports of goods for commercial use are slowly recovering.”
On Monday, Wu Guoquan, the commercial adviser to the Chinese embassy, said the Ministry of Commerce of China and the embassy were coordinating efforts to facilitate shipments to Cambodia.
“With the support of the Chinese government and the Royal Government of Cambodia, suppliers in China will begin shipments of raw materials to Cambodia very soon. This will minimise losses for the industry during these hard times,” he said.
SITC Container Lines Cambodia, Cosco Shipping/RCL, Oriental Overseas Container Line, Sinotrans and other shipping companies are working together to send raw materials to Cambodia in the next few days.
SITC is responsible for shipping the more than 60 containers of raw materials that arrived at PAS on Monday.