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S'ville port posts 11pc growth during 2008

S'ville port posts 11pc growth during 2008

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090105_13.jpg

But the economic slowdown is expected to hit 2009 revenues

Photo by: HENG CHIVOAN

A ship docked at the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port. The port posted strong 2008 revenues, despite the slowdown.

THE Sihanoukville Autonomous Port (SAP) posted strong revenue numbers in 2008 with volume growth of 11 percent, but the long-term impact of the global financial slowdown will see revenues grow only six percent in 2009, Lou Kim Chhun, chairman and CEO of the port, told the Post last week.

"Containers through the port in November declined eight percent, mostly on drops in raw materials and manufactured products from the garment sector, but we will still attain the projected 11 percent [volume] growth, to US$28 million from $26 million last year," Lou Kim Chhun said.

"In 2009, we project revenue growth of only six percent due to declines in the garment and construction sectors. But we expect rice exports to rise," he said.

The port saw throughput of some 1.8 million tonnes of cargo in 2007, rising to two million tonnes in 2008, he added.

Sam Rainsy Party lawmaker Yim Sovann on Wednesday disputed the port's revenue numbers, saying reported revenues were too low given the country's current economic growth.

"There is no report available at the National Assembly about the SAP, but [their figures] are far lower than the real figure," he said.

Imports and exports increased considerably this year, Yim Sovann said, adding that the port could have used irregular accounting to shorten their revenue numbers.

"Corruption at the port is just a part of society. The embezzlement of the state's properties appears everywhere in Cambodia.

"I have no faith in the accuracy of the port's stated figures," he said.

But Chan Sophal, president of the Cambodia Economic Association, told the Post Wednesday the port's numbers reflected the country's current economic position.

"The port's activities are in line with economic growth. If the economy slows down, the port activities will decline," said Chan Sophal.

He added that he expects Cambodia's economy to stabilise by 2010.

Ports worldwide have been hard-hit by the global slowdown as international trade has dropped.

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