Logistics Committee to be Established

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Cambodia will establish a much-needed logistics committee. KT/ Chor Sokunthea

To help improve the logistics sector, the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation has announced it will set up the Logistics Committee, which will work to improve the flow of goods in the Kingdom.
Public Works Minister Sun Chanthol said on Monday during a JICA-organized seminar on the Logistics Situation and Challenges in Cambodia that his ministry will set up the committee which is aimed at bringing logistics costs down and helping Cambodia’s agricultural products compete in foreign markets.
“We are committed to propose to set up the logistics council or committee,” Mr. Chanthol said. “It’s so important for the economic environment of the country.”
Appealing to experts and representatives of government agencies and the private sector in the seminar, Mr. Chanthol asked for ideas and input on how to improve Cambodia’s logistics sector.
“Please open up, please talk openly, honestly, raise all issues, concerns and ideas on how to face these problems,” he said. “We cannot do it alone. We need you, our development partners, colleagues.”
Mr. Chanthol said the first meeting with the private sector and development partners on establishing the logistics committee would be held on May 23. But he has not yet revealed the timeframe for establishing the committee or who is going to run it. Experts said that to solve the problems in the logistics sector in Cambodia, there are no specific ministries to deal with. So a committee composed of people from various ministries led by the Transportation Ministry should be welcomed, they said.
The full-day seminar on the logistic situation and challenges in Cambodia provided a platform for all relevant parties from government agencies and the private sector to discuss and try to find solutions and ways to improve the sector.
The Japanese experts from JICA told the seminar that Cambodia is geographically located in the center of Asean and the center of the Mekong countries, which should provide benefits for Cambodia in the logistics sector.
However, the experts said Cambodia’s logistics sector is still struggling in terms of high costs for shipments and inefficiency in time compared with the neighboring countries of Thailand and Vietnam.
The experts said that based on results from a JICA study, Cambodia’s poor logistics situation can be partly traced to poor infrastructure and slow paperwork.
“Presently, the cost of logistics in Cambodia is a bit higher than our neighboring countries,” Mr. Chanthol said. “If we talk about competitiveness, it’s not only the cost, but the time also. The cost can be comparative, but if a shipment takes two days, three days, we are not competitive.
“We’ll make Cambodia a logistics hub for the Mekong sub-region, which can attract more foreign direct investment, expand trade and create jobs to Cambodian people.”
Establishing the logistics committee is very important, said Mey Kalyan, a senior advisor to the government’s Supreme National Economic Council. He said that in his view it is very important because based on the data provided by JICA, the cost of logistics in Cambodia is higher than in Thailand and Vietnam.
“The first step is to set up the logistics committee,” he said. “Without this committee and its advice, the work cannot run well.”
However, the logistics sector in Cambodia has shown some improvement thanks to physical infrastructure being built or restored. The government recently  reduced shipment costs for 20-foot and 40-foot containers to pull down the logistics costs.

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