CAMBODIA’S logistics are more expensive than in neighbouring countries, hindering its plans to export 1 million tonnes of milled rice by 2015, according to Saksit Srisuksai, General Director of Intertek Testing Service Company.
Thailand faced similar logsitics challenges years ago, which had since proved surmountable. “At the moment, I believe that the cost of transportation and logistics in [Cambodia] is still higher than in Thailand or Vietnam, even Burma,” he said.
“I believe [Cambodia’s] exports must be less than forecast, because the logistics are not in a good position yet. Other countries can export by large ships,” he said.
He highlighted storage facilities, roads, and vehicles as well as ships as areas that needed improvement.
Intertek is responsible for certifying the quality of much of Cambodia’s rice exports, particularly shipments to Europe, he said yesterday on the sidelines of the Rice Export Service and Market Requirement workshop in Phnom Penh.
Saksit Srisuksai called the rice export target “achievable”. “Cambodia can have good logistics, roads, transportation, and facilities,” he said.
However, Kim Savuth, Director of rice exporter Khmer Food, agreed Cambodia was facing transportation challenges, but added he thought the cost of logistics was not as large a barrier as claimed by some
“I don’t think our logistics cost is higher than Thailand or Vietnam – it is the same right now.
“They [Intertek] are surveyors. They don’t know [the situation] clearly like us exporters.”
His firm has exported 4,700 tonnes of milled rice to Europe during the first two months of the year, from 7,600 tonnes to the continent during all of 2010, he said.
Speaking at the conference yesterday, Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh said the country has strong potential with its rice production, which the government aimed to increase.
“The rice policy is Cambodia wants to become … one of the main rice export countries at the global market,” he said. “Firstly, we better know what the market requires of us.”
Last August, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced a policy to increase rice exports to 1 million tonnes by 2015. Statistics show Cambodia exported just over 100,000 tonnes in 2010.