The Ministry of Public Works and Transport, in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), is formulating a policy to facilitate the transportation of goods and avoid traffic congestion at the border.

Koy Sodany, secretary of state at the ministry, chaired the April 18 virtual ninth monthly meeting on the second phase of the Cambodia Logistics System Improvement Project. The meeting was attended by the project team and experts from JICA, who reviewed the projects progress and set the direction of logistics policy formulation.

At the meeting, they discussed the progress and activities of the green logistics working group, the regional centre working groups, the cold chain team, the goods vehicle modernisation team and the monitoring and evaluation team. Improvements to the Bavet border crossing and preparations for the opening of the Stung Bot-Ban Nong Ian international border checkpoint were also tabled.

Sodany highlighted the progress of the Project Management Committee working group. They have achieved many positive results in formulating policies relating to transportation and logistics, especially around the two border crossings, he said.

Transport ministry undersecretary of state Vasim Sorya told The Post that JICA had provided two years of assistance to improve logistics in Cambodia. There are four main areas they had offered expertise in. The first was to monitor the implementation of the master plan. The second was to formulate policy. The third was to develop guidelines for the implementation of the master plan and logistics plan and the fourth was to improve the Cambodia-Thai border checkpoint at Stung Bot, he said.

He added that JICA was also preparing revisions and examining the possibility of investment and transportation in certain areas such as Phnom Penh, Poipet, Sihanoukville and Bavet town. Another point concerned the improvement of cross-border transport in line with the agreements with neighbouring countries that had been in place for nearly 20 years.

“There is some inaction due to congestion at the checkpoints. Our checkpoints are small and some have no parking lots or goods inspection facilities. Some of them are yet to coordinate in fast tracking paperwork that allows goods to clear border crossings more efficiently,” he said.

He went on to say that the Cambodia-Vietnam border checkpoints have seen extensive traffic congestion for the past five years, and that was why the ministry had sought to widen the roads approaching them.

“Using both the national budget and ADB grants, we have widened the road for 7km from the border crossing into Bavet town. We developed it from four lanes to six, which has greatly eased congestion,” he said.