Seventy percent of all outbound parcels leaving Cambodia via the state-owned postal service contain local food products that are delivered to Cambodians living abroad, an official at Cambodia Post said yesterday.
Ork Bora, general director of Cambodia Post, said that of the total 26,678 packages, not including documents, which were sent during the first nine months of the year, 18,675 contained local delicacies such as prahok and dried fish.
“It is a bit expensive to have to mail out these kinds of foods, but Cambodians that are working or living in other countries do not really like the taste of foreign foods,” he said, adding that South Korea, Malaysia and Japan were among the top destinations for the parcels.
“We are seeing that our people are sending food to their friends or family as far as the United States and France,” he added. Mr. Bora said that the remaining parcels mostly contained small souvenirs.
According to a pricelist for parcels at the post office in Phnom Penh, the delivery of a package weighing between 1 kg and 5 kg—a common size for food deliveries—to Malaysia or Singapore costs $16 to $28 respectively, while the same shipment to South Korea or Hong Kong costs $20 to $44.
“My grandmother lives in the United States and I send her fermented fish many times a year. When somebody comes to visit Cambodia, my mother will send prahok back with them and other dried fish because we do not want to spend so much at the post office since it is too expensive,” said Sun Thyda, a 20-year-old student in Phnom Penh.
Revenues at Cambodia Post reached $2.87 million through the first nine months of the year, a 3.97 percent increase compared to the same period last year, Mr. Bora said, adding that profits had reached $300,000 before taxes.
“Right now, we are in the low-season so we expect deliveries to pick up again in November and December, so we are expecting growth to be around 10 percent for the year,” he said.
In June 2010, Cambodia’s postal service gained complete independence from the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MPTC) by becoming a public enterprise. Prior to the split, Mr. Bora said the postal service made no profits.
“Since we detached from the MPTC, we went from making no profit to where we are now,” he said, adding that plans were in store to list on Cambodia’s bourse.