Despite the significant jump in movement of agricultural products for export, no remarkable gains in freight transport activity have been recorded over the past six months, industry insiders have said.
Border closures and a sharp decline in orders for textile products from Cambodia stemming from the Covid-19 outbreak have stifled the transport sector.
Cambodia Logistics Association (CLA) president Sin Chanthy told The Post on Thursday that despite the current surge in agricultural product exports – especially milled rice – overall activity in the sector saw minimal growth last month compared to March, April and May, with goods shipments falling in virtually all segments.
He added that the general quietness in the industry may be due to foreign investors not reinstating their orders despite the slowly stabilising Covid-19 situation, leading to goods transport and shipping of raw materials to fall in suit.
“The volume in goods transport now is in the ballpark of just 30-40 per cent of pre-Covid figures. Freight transport activity is only slightly up from three to four months ago,” said Chanthy.
He said international air freight is nearly nonexistent while transport via water and land has been largely muted.
The sector will see even greater headwinds if health authorities cannot claim victory over Covid-19, he said with a sense of uncertainty.
Established as a non-profit association in March 2004, the CLA in April announced that it had changed its name from the Cambodia Freight Forwarders Association, or Camffa.
SHA Transport Express Co Ltd CEO and co-founder Khut Saroeun noted that some countries have begun to reopen to limited freight traffic as Covid-19 fears subside.
Continuing relative stagnation will deal a significant blow to the transport sector, he said.
“Even though the Covid-19 situation has improved, goods deliveries at my company have not gone back up, as shipping volumes remain low compared to before the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak,” he said.
A formal free trade agreement (FTA) with China is expected to be signed later this year, which experts say will spur the Kingdom’s economy and greatly increase freight activity due to the massive scale of the world’s most populous nation.
Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak has said the FTA will result in a 20 per cent rise in exports to China.