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Port operator logs steady operations improvement

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PPAP recorded a 13 per cent year-on-year rise in the volume of containers and a one per cent year-on-year gain in the number of cargo vessels handled at the port during the period. Heng Chivoan

Port operator logs steady operations improvement

Listed state-owned port operator Phnom Penh Autonomous Port (PPAP) reported a steady improvement in business operations in the first half of the year despite the Covid-19 pandemic ravaging the regional and global economies.

It posted a 13 per cent year-on-year climb in the volume of containers and a one per cent year-on-year rise in the number of cargo vessels handled at the port during the period, it said in its filing to the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX) on Monday.

It logged a four per cent fall in cargo and fuel oil throughput, a 28 per cent drop in passenger boats and a 38 per cent decrease in passengers.

CSX vice-chairman Ha Jong-weon told The Post on Monday that PPAP’s filing proves that its business remains sound despite the health crisis and a slowdown in some of its segments.

He said: “PPAP is doing well – container and cargo vessel traffic kept increasing compared to the same period in 2019.

“And it is normal, given the situation, if the number of passenger boats and passengers decreases. It is mainly due to Covid-19‘s impact on the tourism sector.”

PPAP director-general Hei Bavy told its annual meeting on June 26 that it has doubled down on its commitment to enhance its business performance during the global health crisis by reducing expenses and postponing non-urgent investment.

“In the face of the current situation, with the Covid-19 crisis still gripping Cambodia and large parts of the world, PPAP remains constant in its goal to minimise the impact to our business,” he said, adding that staff is working together to reduce unnecessary expenses and curb fallout from the coronavirus.

He added: “We recently launched some measures in response, including adjustments to our 2020 business plan, cutting down on unnecessary expenses, holding off on investments that are not currently essential and focus mainly on important projects to shore up growth.”

Ha said he hopes that the stabilising Covid-19 infection rate and the increasingly reactivating economies would give the port renewed impetus and reinforce growth in the second half.

“When other countries start opening their economy, that will boost the port’s business performance and there will be more and more containers and goods traffic as well as an increasing number of passengers and passenger boats.

“As a result, it will help push the PPAP stock price higher and higher,” he said.

PPAP’s first quarter 2020 report said total revenue and other income was $7,603,877. The operator logged a decline in number of passenger boats during the period, but reported that all other business activities either grew or remained flat.

It reported a three per cent year-on-year drop in total revenue in the first five months of the year.

PPAP’s stock price was strong in January, hovering at just over 12,000 riel ($3). As Covid-19 fears began to jolt the Kingdom in February, the price had dropped 13 per cent by month’s end, data from the CSX show.

It remained at low levels in March, hitting a 10,280 riel low on March 17, and commenced a rebound late in April. It closed at 11,520 riel on Monday, up 12.06 per cent over its Covid-19 era bottom.

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