Public-listed Sihanoukville Autonomous Port (PAS) recorded a surge of 16.32 per cent in container throughput between January and March this year as Cambodia and global economies navigated a recovery path, said the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.
The volume of containers totalled 198,182 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units), up from 170,370 TEUs in the corresponding period last year.
TEU is an inexact unit of cargo capacity used in the shipping industry roughly equivalent to a container with internal dimensions measuring about 20 feet long, eight feet wide and 8.5 feet tall, or a volume roughly 38.5 cubic metres.
Lou Kim Chhun, director-general of the state-run deep-sea port operator, said the port is facing congestion, noting that cargo volumes climbed to 750,000 TEUs in 2021 despite the facilities only being designed to handle 700,000 TEUs each year.
“Even though it is congested, the volume of container throughput keeps increasing. From that, goods passing [through the port] have increased by 14 per cent. Container numbers have risen by 16 per cent while revenue rose by 14 per cent,” he said.
The increase reflects Cambodia’s economic growth and trade with countries in the region and the world.
Logistics Business Association (LOBA) president Chea Chandara told The Post on May 2 that better management of the epidemic and growth in domestic production boosted trade with international markets in recent months.
“Based on the development situation in Cambodia, I think the growth of the cargo of Sihanoukville port will increase further.
“In addition, the coming into force of the Cambodia-China Free Trade Agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership also help increase the activity of shipping goods to international markets,” Chandara said.
Regarding the cost of shipping by sea to international markets, Chandara said it has gradually decreased, with shipments to some US states reducing to $15,000 from $20,000 during the height of the pandemic.
However, the cost of shipment by road in Cambodia is still high due to the rise in fuel prices.
Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng said the increase of shipments was due to higher orders from Cambodia, especially textiles and agriculture.
Cambodia is a producer country with a large market of countries operating within it, amid rising investment.
“New law improvements have led to a steady rise of investors in Cambodia. With more investment, international exports and imports will increase accordingly,” he said.
PAS’ Kim Chhun shared some specs of a new container terminal that is planned to be constructed in three phases, with each set to be ready for operation in 2025, 2028 and 2030, respectively.
After each phase is completed, the port will respectively have a length of 350m, 400m, and 430m; depth of 14.50m, 16.50m, and 17.50m; and the capacity to handle vessels up to 4,000 TEUs or 60,000 DWT (deadweight-tonnage), 10,000 TEUs or 120,000 DWT, and 15,000 TEUs or 160,000 DWT, he said.