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New routes a mixed bag: forwarder

New routes a mixed bag: forwarder

SO Nguon Group, Cambodia’s biggest freight forwarder by volume, said late Wednesday that traffic volumes on one of two routes launched last month were growing steadily.

The company launched the routes after volumes on its key route between Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh dropped 40 percent over the first nine months of the year. So Nguon ran just 10,800 trucks between the two locations over the year to the end of September, compared to 18,000 over the same period a year earlier.

The new routes link the country’s industrial hub of Phnom Penh with Poipet on the Thai border and Bavet, which borders Vietnam on the route to Ho Chi Minh City.

So Nguon Group President So Nguon said the company’s trucks were running 125 times a week on the route to Vietnam. They were making just two trips per week between Phnom Penh and Poipet.

“We hope our transportation services on these two new routes will increase in the future,” he said.

It costs US$600 to send a container to Poipet, and $250 to the much closer Bavet, he added.

Tough times
The bulk of the company’s income comes from transporting garments, footwear and textiles to Sihanoukville Autonomous Port (PAS) and bringing construction materials to the capital city from the port. It also has lucrative transport contracts with beverage producers and importers.

The garment sector and the construction sector have both been hit hard by the impact of the global financial crisis.

Ministry of Commerce figures show total garment exports fell 22.56 percent on an annualised basis to $1.59 billion over the first eight months of the year.

Figures on imports of construction materials are more difficult to come by, but the International Monetary Fund said in September that imports were down about 35 percent year on year. Steel imports were around 25 percent lower through to September, it said.

PAS figures show steel imports via sea freight were down 77.88 percent over the first nine months of the year to 7,412 tonnes and cement imports down 33.22 percent to 37,772 tonnes.

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