Cambodia has improved its import, export and transit operations by streamlining customs procedures to international standards, raising its world logistics ranking markedly since 2010, according to the World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index (LPI) released Thursday.
This year, Cambodia ranked 83 out of 160 countries, an improvement over its 2012 rank of 101 and its 2010 rank of 129, states the survey, published every two years.
“In recent years, Cambodia has made real progress in reforming and modernizing its import, export, and transit operations, including by streamlining and harmonizing customs procedures to international standards,” states the index.
Among the improvements Cambodia has made, the World Bank highlights the country’s automated customs procedures.
“With the introduction of automated customs procedures and much of the hard infrastructure now in place at the Port of Sihanoukville and at border posts around the country, clearance times with physical inspection of cargo have fallen from 5.9 days in 2010 to 1.4 days in 2014,” the survey says.
“Likewise, the share of consignments selected for physical inspection has fallen from 29 percent in 2010 to 17 percent in 2014, suggesting that customs’ risk management capabilities are improving,” it says.
But the LPI states that further gains in trade facilitation “will require extending the reform program of the General Directorate of Customs and Excise to other border management agencies, because advances made by customs are not being made elsewhere.”
The World Bank also says it is working with the government in “improving transparency through a trade information website where all rules, regulations, fees, and procedures will be available.”
The LPI measures improvements in six categories: the efficiency of customs and border management clearance; the quality of trade and transport infrastructure; the ease of arranging competitively priced shipments; the competence and quality of logistics services; the ability to track and trace consignments; the frequency with which shipments reach consignees within scheduled or expected delivery times.
In the customs category, Cambodia ranked 71 out of 160; in infrastructure, 79; in international shipments, 78; in logistics quality and competence, 89; in tracking and tracing, 71; and in timeliness, 129.
Minister of Commerce Sun Chanthol has said since his appointment to the post in September that he plans to reform the country’s economy by “modernizing” certain procedures ahead of Cambodia’s entrance into the Asean Economic Community in 2015.
In November, he announced that the government would no longer require companies to apply for certificates of origin if they export to countries that do not require such documentation and that there were plans underway to introduce an electronic system.
(Additional reporting by Hul Reaksmey)