The volume of goods shipped has grown steadily in the three months since South Korean sea shipping line Hyundai Merchant Marine began calling at Sihanoukville port, and cargo sizes are expected to double in the coming month, a local company representative said yesterday.
Siv Mann, sales manager of Hyundai Logistics (Cambodia) Co Ltd, said the cargo line first added Cambodia’s principal seaport to its service roster in March, with its Feedermax container ships sailing from Busan, South Korea, to Sihanoukville once a week.
The ships deliver goods to Sihanoukville such as textiles, factory equipment and spare parts to support the local garment industry. On the way out they primarily pick up garments and footwear products bound for Western markets.
One issue the company has faced, according to Mann, is the imbalance between the volume of goods shipped in and those shipped out, which increases the number of empty containers on the route. Hyundai Merchant Marine’s 2,200-TEU ships deliver about 100 20-foot equivalent units, or TEUs, to Cambodia and initially brought out just five TEUs. That has since increased to 15 TEUs per trip, while the company is targeting 30 TEUs.
“We still need more goods to ship out even though we’re now receiving more garment products for delivery to Japan,” he said. “We expect that we will hit our target in July because it is the high season.”
Meas Sopong, general manager of logistics firm Kuehne + Nagel (Cambodia) Ltd, said it is normal for shipping lines serving Cambodia to have an imbalance in favour of imports as the Kingdom’s export volume remains small, limited to mainly garments and agricultural products.
“If Cambodia’s garment exports decrease, it will hurt the shipping business,” he said, adding, however, that an influx of Japanese investment in the country was expected to result in more shipments of industrial products to Japan.
According to officials at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port (SAP), Hyundai Merchant Marine is one of more than 10 international shipping lines that currently call at the deepwater port. Four, including Chinese shipping behemoth COSCO, launched services in the past year.
Lou Kim Chhun, director-general of SAP, said more direct shipments from Cambodia to regional port destinations would help cut costs and save time in transporting goods to international markets.
“The traffic of goods between South Korea or Japan and Cambodia is increasing every year and will grow stronger in the future,” he said.