Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Thai transport quotas to rise

Thai transport quotas to rise

A Thai truck enters Cambodia at the Poipet border crossing in May 2013.
A Thai truck enters Cambodia at the Poipet border crossing in May 2013. Hin Pisei

Thai transport quotas to rise

Cambodia and five other countries that share the Mekong River have agreed to open their borders to more commercial truck and tourist bus traffic as part of a transnational agreement aimed at promoting regional logistics and tourism, a senior transport official said yesterday.

Transport officials from the six member states of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) – which includes Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar and southern China – met in Bangkok last week to hammer out new quotas under the Cross-Border Transport Facilitation Agreement (CBTA). Under the revised framework, each country except Myanmar will have a quota of 500 cross-border permits for trucks and tourist buses by the end of the year.

“We are now on the plan, and we are now studying its issues and mechanism,” said Chan Dara, director-general of the transport department at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport. “We will bring our issues on vehicle safety and controlling the cross-border flow of illegal goods to the table at the next meeting.”

Cambodia, which became a signatory of the GMS CBTA in 2001, currently already has a quota of 500 vehicles with Vietnam under a bilateral agreement. However, its existing bilateral quota with Thailand of just 40 commercial trucks and tourist buses has been in place since 2002.

The revised quotas will be put into effect on December 1, according to the Bangkok Post.

“Before Dec 1, each country has to fine tune details about international transport and deal with some complicated issues,” the newspaper quoted Thai Transport Minister Arkhom Tempittayapaisith as saying.

Dara, however, disputed this date, arguing that the agreement calls for the revised quotas to start on January 1, 2017.

Chem Chomnan, president of the Cambodian Bus Association (CAMBA), said the regional transport agreement was “fair and balanced”, and beneficial for both commercial and passenger transport.

He said the new quota with Thailand will increase the number of buses licensed for cross-border trips, improving costs and services for consumers and encouraging more travel.

“We expect the number of middle-class tourists in particular to increase as they like to come [to Cambodia] by bus and save on the cost of a flight,” he said.

Chomnan expressed concern, however, that Thai transport companies with lower fuel costs and better equipment could end up dominating the local market.

“Our challenge is the shortage of capital, and we’re concerned that we cannot compete with [Thai companies] as when the quality of the bus is different we will lose customers,” he said.

He urged the government to support local tourist bus companies by reducing taxes on the purchase of new vehicles, noting that neighbouring countries subsidise or offer tax exemptions to their private sector transport companies.

MOST VIEWED

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • Prime Minister Hun Sen warmly welcomed by president Biden

    Prime Minister Hun Sen, as ASEAN chair, and other ASEAN leaders were warmly welcomed by US president Joe Biden as the ASEAN-US summit May 12-13 kicked off today in Washington. “This evening, I welcomed ASEAN leaders to the White House for the first time in

  • Third Makro outlet planned for capital’s Chroy Changvar

    Makro (Cambodia) Co Ltd is set to invest $12.7 million in its third Cambodian outlet, this time in northeast Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changvar district, an area dotted with high-end residential developments, as shopping behaviours continue to evolve in tandem with economic growth. The Cambodian Investment