Shipping activity is increasing at both the Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville ports, but most of the products are being imported instead of exported.
May Marith, director of Shipping Activity at Sihanoukville Port, estimates that as much as 90 percent of the port’s activity is handling imports—largely cars, machinery parts, televisions, food and drink. He said the only significant exports are textiles manufactured in factories owned by foreigners.
A plan to gradually eliminate import fees for Asean countries will increasingly hurt Cambodia if exports continue to remain low.
He said 70 to 75 ships a month from Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Japan have been using the port at Sihanoukville. Each ship carries between 200 and 400 containers.
May Marith estimated Sihanoukville shipments had doubled compared with the same time period last year. He attributed some of that increase to a change in customs policy which halted the import of containers overland through Poipet on the border with Thailand.
The number of ships using the Phnom Penh Port has increased 21 percent for the first six months of this year compared to the same period in 1999. A total of 461 ships used the facility through June 30, compared with 381 last year.
Income increased 10.5 percent, from $452,371.42 to $499,915.75, May Marith said. Gasoline passing through the port increased 19.9 percent, from 210.6 tons to 252.4 tons. General goods increased from 46.5 tons to 65.5 tons, officials said.