FREIGHT shipments through Sihanoukville Autonomous Port rose 8.61 percent in the first quarter of 2010, compared to the same period last year, according to port figures.
The port shipped 502,000 tonnes of goods, a rise from 462,000 in the first quarter of 2009, but the March-on-March figures showed a decline.
The port moved 176,666 tonnes of goods to regional ports in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam in March – a 3.5 percent drop from the same month last year.
Ma Sun Hourt, deputy director general of the port, told the Post Wednesday the slip in numbers was not a concern because the port was negotiating more gateways for the shipment of agricultural products, including acacia trees.
That could mean a continued increase in shipments into the second quarter of the year, Ma Sun Hourt said.
Sihanoukville port plans to ship nearly 2 million tonnes of goods this year, a modest increase of 3.4 percent from 2009. Last year’s shipments were 9 percent lower than 2008’s.
Traffic has been hurt by the completion of a deepwater port in Vietnam that has made direct shipments possible from Phnom Penh to international ports, saving companies both time and money.
“We hope that the ongoing recovery of the regional and global economies will help bring the port a chance to ship more goods,” Ma Sun Hourt said.
Sihanoukville port ships coal, garment supplies, oil, cloth, footwear, cement, automobiles and grain, he said.
So Nguon, director of the So Nguon Group, the biggest container shipper in Cambodia, said Wednesday that textile and rice products he transported between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville port rose 20 percent in the first quarter of the year.