The volume of twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) that has passed through the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port (PAS) during the first 19 weeks of this year increased by almost five per cent over the same period last year, but transportation experts expect the figure to drop in the second quarter.
TEU is an inexact unit of cargo capacity often used to describe the capacity of container ships.
Data obtained by The Post from port director-general Lou Kim Chhun on Monday shows that the port received a total of 218,050 TEUs between December 30 and May 10 compared to 207,818 TEUs in the period between December 31, 2018 and May 12, last year.
During the 2019 period, TEUs increased 15.5 per cent year-on-year from the 179,913 in the corresponding 19-week period in 2018 between January 1 and May 13.
However, the number is forecasted to drop sharply in the second quarter as most of Cambodia’s exported goods orders – garments, footwear and travel goods – have been cancelled by buyers for a while.
Cambodia Logistics Association president Sin Chanthy told The Post on Monday that while the number of TEUs passing through the Sihanoukville port has increased, all modes of transport in Cambodia are facing major declines due to the disruption caused by the Covid-19 outbreak, especially in the past few weeks.
He said the partial economic shutdowns in the US and Europe prompted by the pandemic will have a devastating effect on trade flow, as they are the Kingdom’s largest and most important markets. “In the second quarter there will be no more growth.”
His comments are in line with the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC), which said as of May 4, 180 factories in Cambodia have suspended operations while another 60 are at risk of closure.
“There have been a lot of cancelled orders in the textile sector, so the number of TEUs passing through the Sihanoukville port declined accordingly,” he said.
A PAS report said 637,844 TEUs passed through the port last year, an 18 per cent increase from 540,793 TEUs in 2018.