Sihanoukville Autonomous Port (PAS) is extending the storage grace period from five to seven days from October 1 for export containers passing through the Kingdom’s sole deep-sea port, in a move met with generally positive response from local exporters.
The two-day extension of the demurrage-free period was motivated by a meeting between PAS and representatives of shipping companies back in August 30, the state-owned enterprise (SOE) said in a statement signed by deputy director-general Thai Rithy.
The grace period starts from the day the container arrives, and lasts until the time of the ship’s departure, PAS said, adding that the adjustment aims to support business and trade, and address some of the challenges faced by the field of transportation and logistics.
Chan Pich, general manager of rice exporter Signatures of Asia Co Ltd, said the decision would partially ease the burden for exporters.
He noted that it was not uncommon for ships to fail to pick up their cargo within the allotted five-day period. “Now we’ll be able to leave containers there free for two more days, which will help reduce our costs in part, even if it’s not much.”
Logistics Business Association president Chea Chandara echoed a similar sentiment, telling The Post that the two days of container storage would cut costs for exporters to some extent.
He noted that the owners of the goods currently incur demurrage fees from the sixth day that their containers are left at the port, but now that PAS has extended the allotted free time to seven days, this means “two more days free of charge”.
PAS reported container throughput of 641,842 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) last year, marking an increase of 0.41 per cent compared to 639,211 TEUs in 2019.
A TEU is an inexact unit of cargo capacity used in the shipping industry roughly equivalent to a container with internal dimensions measuring about 20 feet long, eight feet wide and 8.5 feet tall, or a volume roughly 38.5 cubic metres.
The SOE booked 311,813,769,000 riel ($76.8 million) in revenue last year, down by 6.62 per cent over 2019 and net profit after tax of 26,607,5944,000 riel, down by 38.78 per cent year-on-year. It did not specify which particular revenue measure (gross, net) it was referring to.