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Cambodia one step closer to proper port regulation

Jose Rodriguez T. Senase / Khmer Times Share:
A crane picks up a container from a truck at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The on-and-off process of drafting a law that will properly regulate Cambodia’s ports is once again in motion.

The Ministry of Public Works and Transport, the lead body tasked with drafting a Port Law, and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) recently organised an event that brought together representatives from the public and private sectors to share their views on improving a draft of the law, according to a report from Agence Kampuchea Presse (AKP).

JICA acts as an advisor to the Cambodian government in the drafting of the proposed law.

Among the more than a hundred people present during the workshop, held on Oct 17-18, were officials from relevant departments of the Ministry of Transport and representatives from other ministries, Sihanoukville Autonomous Port (PAS), Phnom Penh Autonomous Port (PPAP), and private port operators.

The workshop represents an important step for the Kingdom, which, according to economic and shipping experts, needs to have a law that properly regulates activities within its ports.

The lack of a Port Law is seen as a hindrance to the development of Cambodia’s ports. The Kingdom has PAS, its sole deepwater seaport, and a few other river ports in Phnom Penh, Takeo, and Kampong Cham. New seaports in the provinces of Kep, Kampot, and Koh Kong are being planned or underway.

Ports are seen as important to the development of Cambodia, which has seen its economy rebound and grow tremendously after being one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia just a few decades ago.

The Ministry of Transport and JICA began drafting the Port Law in 2009 based on a study of the Kingdom’s maritime sector by the Japanese aid agency, but there is little to show for their efforts so far.

The proposed law would put in place regulations that will improve audit standards and management practices at all of Cambodia’s ports.

Anthony Galliano, CEO of Cambodia Investment Management (CIM), said he hopes this time the effort will be more successful. CIM is one of the leading business consultancy firms in the Kingdom.

“This has been a stop and go effort supported by JICA, evolving from the report ‘The Study on the Master Plan for Maritime and Port Sectors’ in 2007 to the proposed drafting of new laws to improve audit standards and management practices at all Cambodian ports in 2009,” he pointed out.

The study looked at the regulatory deficiencies in the Kingdom’s maritime sector, particularly its ports, and proposed ways to address them by way of legislation.

“Hopefully this latest endeavor will come to fruition and address the essential regulatory and legal frameworks for the Kingdom’s ports, especially security arrangements for ships, ports, and government agencies,” he added.

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