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Economy minister urges better infrastructure to prevent congestion at border crossings

Sok Chan / Khmer Times Share:
Factory employees busy at work in Phnom Penh. Khmer Times

The Cambodian government has pushed the implementation of separated border crossings and single window service checkpoints along the Thai and Vietnamese border checkpoints to better facilitate cross-border transportation, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

The ministry said that after the Tsubasa Bridge (also known as Neak Loeung Bridge) was completed the volume of transportation and traffic across Cambodia’s Bavet international border with Vietnam has increased drastically.

Because there is only one line for crossing between the two countries there has been serious congestion because both cargo and passengers cannot be separated, to sort traffic efficiently.

The Economy and Finance Minister and head of the economic and financial policy committee Aun Pornmoniroth said at a meeting last Thursday that the Poipet cross-border checkpoint between Thailand and Cambodia is also experiencing congestion, while the new international border gate Stung Bot-Ban Nong Ian is yet to become operational.

The economic and financial policy committee has issued some guidelines for short-medium and long-term measurement. The committee has pushed for the development of Cambodia’s cross border infrastructure and allow for the separation of traffic at the border checkpoints.

Aun also asked officials to work closely with their Vietnamese counterparts on infrastructure and to speed up construction. Focusing on the long term plan to push for the construction of the expressway between Phnom Penh and Bavet and build a new border gate. He also pushed for the facilitation on the procedure of cross-border transport, especially the implementation of the single-window service at the checkpoints.

“Regarding the Cambodia to Thailand border gate, the urgent task is to find agreement with Thai counterparts to put the new Stung Bot-Ban Nong Ian International Border gate into temporary operation because this will boost efficiency and allow for better clearance procedures and build a strong relationship with local parties and Thai counterparts,” he said.

Local products on display at an exhibition. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Sin Chanthy, president of the Cambodia Freight Forwarders Association, told Khmer Times that the process of cargo transport across the border is faster than before. He said that this is not because of the process and procedure of officials in the border checkpoint, but it is because cargo transport across the two borders has dropped significantly, dropping around 50 to 60 percent in the last two months because of the recent Novel Coronavirus outbreak.

He said that before there was serious congestion and delayed process of documentation and checking along the border-check points.

“I think the government’s measure will not come into effect immediately because there is no congestion at the moment for imports and exports,” Sin added. “This is because of the effect the Novel Coronavirus has had on imports, mainly from China. Now, goods imported via Cambodia’s international border with Vietnam have dropped around 50 to 60 percent, mostly being the raw material for the garment sector and construction material,” said Sin.

According to data from the Ministry of Commerce, bilateral trade between Cambodia and Thailand reached $9.41 billion by the end of 2019, up from $8.39 billion in 2018. Cambodia imported from Thailand around $7.14 billion of goods and exported to Thailand around $2.27 billion of products.

The two-way trade between Cambodia and Vietnam reached $4.4 billion, an increase of 13.8 percent from January to October 2019.

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