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Logistics master plan brings high hopes

Sok Chan / Khmer Times Share:
A boat travels down the Tonle Sap River in Phnom Penh. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The new master plan to guide logistics infrastructure development in the kingdom will be ready by the end of March next year and will be pivotal in slashing costs and ramping up efficiency in transportation, a senior official from the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MPWT) said yesterday.

Speaking at a workshop on ports and inland waterway transport yesterday in Phnom Penh, Tauch Chankosal, the MPWT’s secretary of state, said the new blueprint for transportation will allow the government to successfully tackle some of the most pressing issues in the country when it comes to logistics, including the high cost of transport and insufficient infrastructure.

“The master plan details a number of short, medium and long-term projects to deal with the main weaknesses in our transportation sector,” Mr Chankosal said, adding that the document, which is being drafted with the support of the World Bank and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), will be ready by March 2018.

“We cannot compete yet with some neighbouring countries when it comes to the cost and efficiency of transportation, but this new plan will help us get there,” he said.

Mr Chankosal revealed that the development of ports and inland waterway transport is a key component of the upcoming strategy, adding that work on this area is already underway, particularly through the implementation of the Mekong Navigation Facilitation Agreement with Vietnam.

Sin Chanthy, the president of Cambodia Freight Forwarders Association (CAMFFA), said he has high expectations for the new logistics blueprint and hoped it tackles some of the most urgent problems affecting his work, which include corruption, lack of infrastructure connecting ports and economic zones, lack of regulation, high terminal handling charges, expensive parking and dishonest competition.

“We want the MPWT to address these problems since our costs here are higher than in neighbouring countries,” he said. “The cost of operating in a port in Cambodia is still a lot higher than Vietnam or Thailand.”

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