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New border gate wanted with Vietnam for container traffic

Sorn Sarath / Khmer Times Share:
The current Bavet border gate. Supplied

The Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MPWT) is seeking to open a new international border gate with Vietnam to facilitate container cross-border traffic between the two countries, according to an MPWT official.

Nou Savath, secretary of state at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, said, during the 20th Cambodia-Japan public-private sector meeting  that the minister of Public Works and Transport plans to lead an inter-ministerial working group to examine another international border gate with Vietnam for container crossing because Bavet is getting heavily congested.

“Cambodia is considering opening a new border gate, Prey Vor in Cambodia with Binh Hiep in Vietnam, to ease the procedure for both customs and relevant institutions to reduce the container congestion in Bavet,” he said.

According to Savath, Bavet international border gate used to have between 250 to 300 containers crossing a day, but, with COVID-19, only 70 containers go through a day. He said the minister will also ask the government to prepare the terminal for containers to ease the traffic jam.

“We also want to prepare different lines for different goods containers and empty containers and we also have to prepare a line for passengers and small goods as well,” he said.

He said in order to facilitate the container crossing border, the ministry will also ask customs staff to allocate different working hours for lunch times so that there will be nonstop working.

The bilateral trade between Cambodia and Vietnam dropped 8.1 per cent year-on-year to $2.17 billion in the first five months of the year on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to figures from the Vietnamese embassy in Phnom Penh.

Sovath said, talking about cross-border trade between Cambodia and Thailand and with Vietnam,  transportation is not rising because of COVID-19.

He said however, with this challenge, the ministry is trying hard to improve transportation infrastructure such as national road 5, which is supported by the Japanese government, that will boost transportation to and from Cambodia and Thailand.

He said the ministry has also had a lot of meetings about Stung Bot border gate to oversee its progress. It will be the new border gate for goods transportation, replacing Poipet, that is expected to open soon.

Representatives from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) said that JICA is studying Cambodia’s logistics sector along the border in Poipet and Bavet during the COVID-19 pandemic and, in the future, it will compile a list of the challenges and solutions.

One said that for Stung Bot, JICA is preparing a basic plan to help the road connection from the border to National Road 5 in order to open the gate soon so the government needs to be ready for that.

“The second phase of assistance to improve Cambodia logistics will start this winter and will mainly focus on improving logistics and infrastructure along the border and we will cooperate with the government with both hardware and software,” he said.

The two-way trade between Cambodia and Thailand rose by 5.6 percent in the first five months of this year to $3,472 million, according to statistics from Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce.

 

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