Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - S'ville port to go online, official says




S'ville port to go online, official says

S'ville port to go online, official says

090227_14.jpg
090227_14.jpg

Integrated Asean agreement expected to expedite customs clearance around region.

CAMBODIA is set to implement a major Asean agreement that would drastically cut customs clearance times and allow importers to access the entire region through Sihanoukville Port, a port official.

Starting in May, authorities will apply the Asean Single Window (ASW), which synchronises customs information systems and allows traders to forward goods to any Asean country after clearing one regional port of entry, said Ma Sunhout, deputy director general at the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port.

The agreement went into effect in 2008 in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam are set to implement the plan by 2012, which would see the region linked by a unified customs system.

Ma Sunhout said that computer systems and customs procedures are being revamped for the ASW.

"We will officially implement the Asean Single Window in May ... at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port," he said.

He expected that an inaugural event will be presided over by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 1.

Businesses have long complained that inefficiency and corruption in Cambodia's customs systems harms Cambodia's competitiveness.

Ma Sunhout said the system would reduce clearance times and cut business costs, especially for importers or companies relying on foreign feedstocks.

Under the plan, clearance times would be cut to 30 minutes, from a regional average of four hours, he said.

Single checkpoint

The Sihanoukville Port plans to build a single customs clearance point to quicken the approval process.

Sin Chanthy, secretary general of the Cambodia Freight Forwarders Association, said he was pleased that the plan will soon be realised.

"I am very happy to hear the news that the government will officially implement the Asean Single Window in May," Chanthy said.

"I hope that through the Asean Single Window clearance will be cheaper and less expensive."

Chanthy said customs procedures have improved in the leadup to the ASW with the creation of an electronic document processing system, but that processing still takes between three and five hours per container.  

He noted that the cost of clearance has fallen in the past year from US$50 to $25 for a small container, and from $80 to $40 for a large container.

Tias Tary, a customs officer at Tanjung Priok Port in Jakarta said ASW had been successful in her country. "This system has really reduced time and cost," she told a group of journalists touring Southeast Asia last week on a program sponsored by the East-West Centre of Hawaii.

MOST VIEWED

  • Thousands attend CNRP-organised pro-democracy vigil in South Korea

    Thousands of supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) on Saturday gathered in the South Korean city of Gwangju to hold a candlelight demonstration calling for the “liberation” of democracy in Cambodia. Yim Sinorn, a CNRP member in South Korea, said on

  • US Embassy: Chinese trade does not help like the West’s

    The US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Friday said relations between China and Cambodia did not create jobs or help industry when compared to the trade between the Kingdom and the US. “About 87 per cent of trade [with China] are Chinese imports, which do not

  • Vietnamese land-grabbers held

    Following a provincial court order, Ratanakkiri Military Police on April 16 arrested 12 Vietnamese nationals accused of crossing the border into Cambodia and illegally clearing forest land. The accused are now being detained at Phnom Svay prison in the province. Ratanakkiri military police commander Thav Yen told

  • Eight people sent to court over violent protest

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities on Sunday sent eight people to court for blocking National Road 4 and using violence against authorities in a land dispute in Prey Nop district’s Bit Traing commune. Four police officers and two commune security guards sustained injuries when the protesters