The Phnom Penh Autonomous Port (PPAP), the Kingdom’s largest stock-listed river port, reported favourable business performance in the year’s first month, in line with the government’s projection of 6.6% economic growth, driven by global and regional economic improvements.

In its February 22 filing to the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX), the port noted that the number of containers handled in January reached 29,908 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), an 8.57% increase from the 27,546 TEUs in January 2022. 

Passenger boats saw a 41.67% rise to 85 in January, compared to 60 during the same period in 2023. The number of passengers more than doubled to 4,247 from 2,087, marking a 103.5% increase. 

However, there was a slight decrease of 3.58% in cargo and gas-fuel tonnage, down to 311,059 tonnes from 322,616. Cargo vessels decreased by 43.26% to 181 from 319.

Kim Sophanita, director of the CSX Market Operations, said the port’s performance has been rebounding, reflecting the improvement in both the regional and global economy. 

“There has been an improvement in performance. Last year, the decline in certain aspects of their business may have been short-term, leading investors to hold and continue monitoring its performance,” she stated.

“On the other hand, it would be beneficial if the company shared its prospects and expectations for the forthcoming quarter and the rest of the year with public investors,” she added.

Sin Chanthy, president of the Cambodia Logistics Association (CLA), told The Post that transport activity and freight prices in 2023 were similar to or slightly lower than in 2022, despite the global post-pandemic reopening. 

He attributed the sector’s mediocre performance to sluggish global economic growth, dampening demand for various goods. Nonetheless, Chanthy remains hopeful for an uptick in overseas orders towards the end of 2023, potentially revitalising the transport sector.

Phan Phalla, secretary of state at the Ministry of Economy and Finance, projected the country’s economic growth at approximately 6.6% for 2024, in spite of external challenges like geopolitical tensions and a global economic slowdown. 

Speaking at a public forum on macroeconomic management in mid-February, he estimated the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) to reach around 142.96 trillion riel (about $35.17 billion) this year, with GDP per capita expected at $2,071, up from $1,917 in 2023. 

Phalla noted improvements in the economies of trading partners and domestic growth in various sectors. 

“The non-garment sector continues to increase, tourism is expected to rise and the garment sector has recovered considerably,” he said, adding that the garment sector’s exports in January surpassed those in the same period of 2023. 

“Regarding buyers, orders and the factory industry in 2024, there is a lot of optimism indicating a positive recovery. Additionally, the production in non-garment sectors and agriculture is performing well,” he said.

According to PPAP, its net profit for 2023 ending December 31 fell by 36.2% to $9.1 million, down from $14.3 million the previous year. Revenue also slightly decreased by 5% to $34.6 million, compared to $36.4 million in 2022.

Port operations, being the largest income source, witnessed an 8% decline to $29.2 million from $31.8 million in 2023.