The Transair company, which has provided Cambodia with a much needed alternative
mail service over the last decade, will end its postal operations on Jan. 15.
The company had previously said it would close the service on Oct. 31, but shifted
the date back to cover the busy Christmas-New Years period.
Company manager Vongsey Vissoth said the decision to end the service was made because
of the increasing reliability of the state-run system. When Transair, then known
as Transindo, began its service in 1983, the Cambodian post was being run by the
Vietnamese and mail would often take more than a month to reach its destination.
Vissoth said that with its 200 boxes, Transair handles 50 to 80 kgs of incoming mail
and 50 kg of outgoing mail per day.
The state post office currently has about 150 big and 340 small post boxes for rent,
although only about 100 of the small ones are currently available, said Preap Sorithy,
chief of the Postal Exploitation Section (PES).
He said the efficiency of the government postal system had improved markedly since
it signed an agreement with Thai Airways to ship mail in and out of the country every
Monday and Thursday. Sorithy said that if a letter or package is sent out on Monday
it will arrive in California on Tuesday.
However, the chief of the PES complained that the government postal body is still
confronted with a lot of difficulties in delivering mail to provincial areas because
of security and transportation problems. Provincial staff in many cases have to find
their own means of delivering the mail.
"Some are still using bicycles or even walking to deliver mail to the beneficiaries,"
In response to requests for help, the Universal Postal Union (UPU) has provided a
Malaysian consultant to help prepare a master plan for UNDP and other NGOs who are
interested in assisting the Khmer postal agency.
Sorithy said the government post office charges some of the cheapest rates in the
world. Mail to the United States costs only 637.83 riels per five grams, Europe 529.75
riels and Asian 454.05 riels.