An assessement of plans to build a groundbreaking trade logistics centre west of Phnom Penh will begin soon, the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation said.
An early stage feasibility analysis of the Phnom Penh Logistics Complex is set to begin early next year, supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the ministry’s director-general Chhieng Pich said at the sixth Asean Connectivity Forum in Seoul, South Korea recently.
The Phnom Penh Logistics Complex could transform Cambodia’s trade sector, with Pich saying it will act as a long-term regional logistics solution to ease the movement of inbound and outbound freight, making the Kingdom’s regional trade more competitive.
He said the project will contribute to reducing truck-related traffic congestion in Phnom Penh, contribute to the development of more environmentally friendly freight transportation, as well as position the capital as a regional trade hub in Asean.
“If you invest in Cambodia, you not only [serve] 15 million people, instead you will serve more than 600 million,” he said of the project.
The Phnom Penh Logistics Complex will be located on 98ha of land in Sangkat Samraong Kraom, an area lying just west of Phnom Penh International Airport.
The location is strategically significant as it sits between Sihanoukville Autonomous Port and the Poipet rail line on the border with Thailand. It is also located near National Roads 3 and 4, as well as the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone.
Cambodia’s weak logistics infrastructure has long impeded its trade sector, with a 2014 World Bank report showing the country’s export costs were 30 per cent higher than those of neighbouring countries.
In 2016, the Japan International Cooperation Agency estimated that Cambodia charges its exporters $540 per 20ft equivalent units (TEU), compared to $200 in Thailand and $250 in Vietnam.
Currently, Cambodia’s freight is handled at 20 individual dry ports nationwide, complicating and slowing down the country’s imports and exports.
The Cambodia Freight Forwarders Association president Sin Chanthy expressed optimism that the creation of the Phnom Penh Logistics Complex will be successful in improving Cambodia’s competitiveness.
“If our logistics facilities are still separated from each other like this, the cost of exporting goods will remain expensive and time-consuming.” Chanthy said.
“When we have a large logistics zone and everything is gathered in one place, it will lower the cost, save time, and avoid any complicated processes.”