Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Swiss logistics giant settles in

Swiss logistics giant settles in

A receptionist talks on the phone at Panalpina’s head office in Phnom Penh yesterday afternoon.
A receptionist talks on the phone at Panalpina’s head office in Phnom Penh yesterday afternoon. Pha Lina

Swiss logistics giant settles in

After more than a decade operating through a local agent, Swiss logistics and freight forwarding giant Panalpina opened a branch in Cambodia yesterday, offering its full line of ocean and air freight services to a growing market.

The Basel-based firm operates a global network with offices in more than 75 countries and agents in another 90. Last year it forwarded nearly 1.6 million TEUs, or twenty-foot equivalent units, of ocean freight, and 836,000 tonnes of air cargo.

According to Andy Lim, managing director of Panalpina Cambodia, the decision to open an office in Cambodia was prompted by the needs of its biggest clients, who wanted the company to handle their business directly.

“Many of our global key clients wanted us to have our physical presence here in Cambodia to provide a more direct and interactive experience than to have another external party or operator handle their cargo,” he said.

Lim said the company’s branch in Phnom Penh would offer the same services as its other global network offices, whose coverage extends across six continents.

The Asia-Pacific region accounted for nearly a quarter of Panalpina’s gross profit last year, according to its annual report. The company operates less-than-container-load (LCL) services to many of the smaller markets in the region.

Industry insiders said the arrival of another global logistics firm was a reflection of the strength of Cambodia’s economy and a response to the increasing competitiveness of the local market.

The Kingdom was one of the few bright spots for the air cargo industry last year, experiencing 14 per cent year-on-year growth in air freight shipments as other regions felt a slowdown due to the cooling global economy. It also saw its volume of sea freight grow faster than the global average.

Meas Sopong, general manager of Kuehne + Nagel Cambodia, said that competition among logistics firms was increasing quickly in Cambodia, putting more demand on international companies like Panalpina to strengthen their presence.

“By having their own office here they can improve their competitiveness in attracting clients, as their work is more efficient and the client will be more confident,” he said.

Nhiev Kol, general manager of CMA CGM Cambodia, said the addition of another major international logistics firm was a good sign that the country’s economy and trade in goods were increasing.

It should also contribute to building transparency, reducing the demand on freight forwarders to pay bribes to government officials for import or export documents.

“International companies always avoid paying unofficial fees to government officers as they stick to a standard rate,” Kol said.

“They dare to spend more time to ensure the work is done according to a standard system rather than simply paying bribes to speed up the process.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Draft law on state of emergency pending finalisation

    Prime Minister Hun Sen will lead a top-level meeting on Tuesdays to review the draft law on imposing a state of emergency. Meantime, he has decided to close all casinos in Cambodia effective April 1. In the press conference after the National Assembly met today, Hun

  • State of emergency on table amid pandemic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen, his deputy prime ministers and legal team will meet on Tuesday to review the draft law on declaring a state of emergency, as Covid-19 cases rose to 107 in the Kingdom on Monday. Speaking at a press conference after a parliament meeting

  • Stranded passengers petition UK for help

    Some 10,521 people have signed an online petition calling on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and relevant officials to fly nearly 200 passengers out of Cambodia. The petition is targeted at 15,000 people. Most of the passengers are British nationals, who are stranded in Cambodia after airlines cancelled

  • Many in limbo as tension heightens

    As the Kingdom restricts travel and prepares for a state of emergency, some foreigners in Cambodia are scrambling for a way home. Foreign embassies in Phnom Penh are making efforts to get their citizens out, but cancelled flights have become common due to the coronavirus

  • Covid-19 Pandemic: Force majeure and legal consequences

    Is the Covid-19 pandemic considered an event of force majeure? The World Health Organisation declared the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak a pandemic on March 11. Following this declaration, the Ministry of Health and other ministries have taken various legal and administrative measures to prevent the rapid

  • PM set to mend ties with US

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has responded to US Congressman Ted Yoho, saying he is ready to improve Cambodia-US relations, and not take up issues of disagreements which have become a barrier between the two countries’ bilateral cooperation. His response to Yoho came after the congressman